Inside Iconic Houses Tours are back! Isokon Building 18 November

Inside Iconic Houses - Live Online Tour Program

Pioneers of the Dutch Modern House

Portraits of the Architect - Interview with Gennaro Postiglione

Test Labs for New Ideas - Interview with Natascha Drabbe

New Chairman Architect Nanne de Ru on The Perfect Platform

Health and Home - Interview with Beatriz Colomina

A Life Less Ordinary – Interview with Valentijn Carbo

Invisible Women - Interview with Alice T. Friedman

Winy Maas on the Green Dip

Anita Blom on Experimental Housing of the 1970s

Women’s Worlds - Interview with Natalie Dubois

The Culture of Living - Interview with Robert von der Nahmer

Hetty Berens: A Fresh Take on Modernism

Niek Smit on Supporting Modern Heritage

Alice Roegholt on Amsterdam’s Working-Class Palaces

July is Iconic Houses Month

Save Maison Zilveli - Sign the Petition!

How a Building Tells a Story - Recorded Event

Toolkit for Owners of a Modern House

13 Aalto Sites Nominated for UNESCO World Heritage

Villa Beer At Risk - Sign the Petition!

Business Cards of Stone, Timber and Concrete in the Brussels Region 1830-1970

Exhibiting & Visiting Modernist Monuments

Fostering Well-Researched Responsible Design


Enjoy a virtual visit to the California House and a Q&A with architect Peter Gluck

Exhibition 'Modernism and Refuge'

A Hidden Gem of Postmodernism

New Centre for Historic Houses of India

An Online Chronicle of the Douglas House

SPECIAL – Northern (High)Lights!

SPECIAL - Casas Icónicas en España!

SPECIAL - Vacances en France!

SPECIAL – Iconic Dreams - Sleep in an Iconic House!

SPECIAL – Dutch Delights!

SPECIAL – German Greats!

Villa Henny, geometric style icon in The Netherlands

A Mendini temple in Amsterdam

IH-lectures USA & Canada Feb 2020 on Melnikov House

An Afternoon with the Glucks

Danish Moderns – Looking Back at Our Mini-Seminar

Venturo house complements Exhibition Centre WeeGee’s offering

Lecture report: Remembering Richard Neutra

Hôtel Mezzara and the Guimard Museum project

We welcome 13 new members!

BREAKING NEWS: 8 Wright Sites Inscribed on Unesco World Heritage List!

LECTURE 29 August - Raymond Neutra: My Father and Frank Lloyd Wright

Iconic Reads

SPECIAL – Iconic Artist Residencies

Our Badge of Honour

SPECIAL – Women & Iconic Houses

SPECIAL – Iconic Housing

Iconic Houses End Year Message

City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?

Kohlberg House Restoration in Progress

Planned Demolition of Rietveld Homes in Reeuwijk

Renovation Gili House in Crisis

An Iconic Saga

Restoring Eileen Gray’s Villa E-1027 and Clarifying the Controversies

Modernism on the East Coast

Iconic Houses in Latin America

House Tours May 2018 

Expert Meetings

Terence Riley -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Philip Johnson

New era for Villa E-1027 and Cap Moderne

Jorge Liernur -KEYNOTE SPEAKER- on Latin American Modernism(s)

Restoring the past: The Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Home Studio

Behind the Scenes: Hendrick de Keyser Association

Latin America Special – Focus on Mexico

De Stijl in Drachten

Preserving the Nancarrow House-Studio

Meet the Friends - Nanne de Ru

Latin America Special – Focus on Brazil

Jan de Jong’s House is Latest Hendrick de Keyser Acquisition

Stay in a Belgian Modernist Masterpiece

In Berlin’s Modernist Network

Rietveld-Schröder House Celebrates De Stijl Anniversary

Meet Our New Foundation Board Members

Virtual Tour of a Papaverhof Home in 3D

Getty Grant for Villa E-1027

Iconic Dacha

11 Le Corbusier Homes now on Unesco World Heritage List

At home with Le Corbusier

Wright Plus 2016 Walk

Speaking Volumes: Building the Iconic Houses Library

Follow us!

Documentary La Ricarda

Rent a house designed by Gerrit Rietveld

Barragán House on Screen

Gesamtkunstwerk – An Icon on the Move

Triennale der Moderne 27 September - 13 October 2013

Prestigious Art Nouveau mansions in Brussels open

September 14 + 15: Heritage Days in Paris

June's New Arrivals: Museum Apartments

Iconic Houses is now on Twitter and Facebook

Corbu’s Cabanon: Reconstruction and Lecture

Projekt Mies In Krefeld: Life-sized model of the Krefeld Clubhouse

New arrivals: Spain special

MAMO: Le Corbu’s ‘Park in the Sky’ open 12 June

Annual Wright Architectural Housewalk: 18 May

Frank Lloyd Wright Homes on Screen

Message from the Editor

Neutra’s House on Screen

Melnikov House on Screen

Iconic Houses in the media

Message from the Editor

Eileen Gray House on Screen

Copy Culture

At Home in the 20th Century

New 20th century Iconic Houses website launches

Updated 22 March 2021

Catherine Croft: Getting Away from the Demolition Mentality in the UK

Catherine Croft is director of the Twentieth Century (C20) Society for 20th-century architecture in London and editor of C20 magazine. The author of the book Concrete Architecture, she is an expert on concrete conservation, which she also teaches. Catherine shares her concern with us about the homes of Richard Rogers and Charles Jencks.

For the uninitiated, what does the C20 Society do?
We campaign for the preservation of buildings in the UK constructed from 1914 onwards, right up to the present day. We’re open to a wide range of architecture, from high end to utilitarian – our only criterion apart from date is that it must be important in some way. We are funded mainly by our members’ subscriptions and donations, and we organize field trips for them – we’ve just got back from one in India.

You’ve been director of the C20 Society for ten years. What has changed in that time?
There’s been a huge surge in interest in Brutalist buildings, but that’s only just beginning to be appreciated by building owners and developers. Seeing concrete celebrated as a glamorous and desirable product is still a very pleasant novelty! We are now looking increasingly at High Tech and Postmodern buildings, including ones which were being built when I was a student. There are some amazing private houses amongst them.

What are you most proud of regarding the C20 Society’s work?
Our persistence – plus our pragmatism. I like the way we link up with local and national groups, which I think gives us a unique perspective. And then there are all the buildings – a really wide variety of them – that wouldn’t be here today without our work.

How would you describe the situation for post-1965 heritage in the UK?
Increasing pressure for redevelopment, and the housing crisis in London and the South East, plus little in the way of legal protection, means that the economic incentive to demolish and rebuild at a higher density has never been greater. With practically no funding for maintenance or repair, public housing is particularly at risk, as local authorities partner with commercial firms to cram more and more units onto tight sites.

What image problems do 20th-century British buildings face?
They’re seen as being poorly insulated, and environmentally unfriendly, particularly those built before the oil crisis when electricity was super cheap and climate change not yet a concern. We need to demonstrate that insulation can be sensitively improved and, above all, we should emphasize the irretrievable loss of embodied energy whenever a building is demolished. For the sake of the environment, we have to learn to re-use buildings and get away from the demolition mentality.

And Charles Jencks' house – weren’t there some obstacles to it becoming a museum?
Unusually, money was not the issue here, but the fact that neighbours had concerns about the possible numbers of visitors and loss of privacy. Limiting visitor numbers and certain changes to accessing the house have solved that issue. Popularity with visitors can be a problem, as I saw in Mexico City, where the Frida Kahlo Museum has a huge impact on the neighbourhood, with lots of coaches, trinket sellers and so on. Anyway, Jencks’ house probably won’t attract such a cult following although it is a really important house and is becoming a museum at exactly the right time – Postmodernism is just beginning to be reassessed.

Your first encounter with Jencks wasn’t a huge success, I understand.
As a recent graduate, I had a job on an architecture compendium and I had to write up Jencks’ home for it. He hated it! He wanted to change everything, so I suggested meeting up to try to solve the issue. He gave me an extensive tour of his house and it turned out to be a very positive encounter.

As an expert in concrete conservation, what would you say is the biggest issue that Modern concrete buildings face?
I would say the lack of skills for repair work. Also, people are simply unaware of all the varieties of concrete and its surface finishes. There’s a lot of work to be done in increasing awareness and ability. On the plus side, concrete is valued and enjoyed far more as a material these days.

What other renovation issues would you like to highlight?
Well, I was concerned about the idea to restore Richard Rogers’ house to make it look shiny and new again – just because it’s a High Tech building doesn’t mean it shouldn’t look its age. Its faded appearance is a reminder of just how long we’ve lived in the world of Modernism.

Which is your own favourite young heritage house?
Möbius House (1993–1998), in Het Gooi, the Netherlands by UN Studio. When I was writing Concrete Architecture, I was lucky enough to visit it with architect Ben van Berkel. I loved the quality of concrete and light, the sheer craftsmanship of the building, and its truly radical reassessment of family life and interactions.

What gives you the most hope for heritage homes currently?
The fact that more and more people are keen to visit them!

Catherine recommends watching these interviews with Richard Rogers about the Wimbledon House that he designed for his parents and Charles Jencks about the Thematic House that he designed for his own family.

Richard Rogers interview: Wimbledon house, Architecture, Dezeen, 15 March 2018
Britain's Secret Homes Charles Jencks, 27 July 2013

Jane Szita

Updated 22 March 2021