Around and About Stock Orchard Street
Edited by Sarah Wigglesworth
Routledge – 2011 – 220 pages
9/10 Stock Orchard Street, colloquially known as the Straw House, is a house and an office designed by two architects for their own use. Completed in 2000, the buildings were experimental in design, execution and inhabitation, and have resisted categorization, challenged received wisdom and provoked debate, especially among architectural critics.
With access to all the material records of the project, this book responds to that debate by presenting multi-faceted narratives from a wide range of writers that have been invited to reflect both positively and negatively on what the buildings represent and how they have performed. Using the buildings as the central case study, it situates them in a broader cultural context, revealing the breadth of conversations and issues engaged by architecture.
Highly illustrated with original material, including the authors’ own drawings and with specially-commissioned photographs, this book discusses theory, practice, ethics, material culture, the media, narrative, feminism, sustainability and construction, offering illuminating and sometimes surprising conclusions relevant to lay, professional and academic readers.
While offering a wide ranging set of approaches and critiques of its subject, this book provides a unique insight into a building’s conception, construction and reception, and in turn facilitates the engagement with the issues facing architectural practice today.
"Stock Orchard Street is one of those wild and influential projects in architecture that, just occasionally, re-direct our thinking. This book, that delves into the messiness of building, Renaissance ethics, contextual design and feminist materiality, is as exploratory, incidental, argumentative, open, polemical and enjoyable as the building itself. It celebrates the magical tension between us, our built environment and our notions of how that environment should be." – Kevin McCloud, author, broadcaster and designer
"Like the house it assesses and celebrates, Around and About Stock Orchard Street is a one-off, a sum that is greater than its eclectic, eccentric, inventive parts. Touring the views presented by the house's makers and admirers is, in its way, as enjoyable as touring the house itself, and reminds us of what we still lack in any abundance in British architecture: a poetics of the 'hairy'." – Susannah Hagan, Professor of Urban Studies, University of Brighton
"A tale of architecture getting back to its roots, reminding us, as we plough through our latest client's crippling appointment document, of all the resons why we strove to become architects, and giving clues as to how we might once again stick our necks out and the benefits of doing so to architecture." – Sean Griffiths, Building Design
“This is a significant and engaging type of book about architectural practice that captures well the complexity of issues that influence on the design and construction process of the building…As a whole I hope that the book will serve as a blueprint for a new kind of writing on architecture that helps to open up the profession to a much wider public audience.” – Dr. Jan Kattein, The Journal of Space Syntax
Foreword. Introduction Part 1 The Client's Tale. Photo Essay. Telling Tales. Ordinariness and Perfection. Design Drawings. Part 2 House with Associated Office? Getting it Built. From Innovation to Commonplace. The Model: Deconstructed. The Excessive Materiality of Stock Orchard Street: Towards a Feminist Material Practice. Innovative But Daft? Construction Drawings. Part 3 SOS: Ten Years On. 9.5 Stock Orchard Street. The Intimate Inner. Correspondence from the Architectural Review. What Do We Mean by Green? A House Among Houses: The Idea of 9/10 Stock Orchard Street. Photo Essay. Out of Time, Out of Frame, Into the Box. 'To Make Wonders Plain': The Ethics of Stock Orchard Street. Appendices Gazetteer. Selected Materials Specification. Areas: 9/10 Stock Orchard Street. Contributors to the Building.
Sarah Wigglesworth heads her own practice based in London, which has won awards for projects including Mossbrook Special School Classroom of the Future (2005), Siobhan Davies Dance Studios (2006) and Cremorne Riverside Canoeing Centre (2008). Sarah is also Professor of Architecture at the University of Sheffield. In addition to authoring numerous essays, she is joint editor (with Katerina Ruedi and Duncan McCorquodale) of Desiring Practices: Architecture, Gender and the Interdisciplinary (Black Dog Press, 1996) and (with Jeremy Till) Architectural Design: The Everyday and Architecture (Academy Wiley, 1998). Sarah was awarded an MBE for services to architecture in 2003.