John Penn


John Penn was and is still recognised as one of Britain's greatest Modern architects. He had the opportunity to work under the guidance of Frederick Gibberd - one of Britian's most influential Modern Movement architects, known for his contribution to the social housing and town planning after the war. John Penn only started building up his name when took up a role in the office of Richard Neutra in California. Los Angeles was a turning point for John Penn's career and greatly contrasts the severity and rigor of post war Britain. The distinguished Californian houses by Richard Neutra is now defined as the Mid Century Modern style which is a very famous style now. What John Penn learnt was the devotion to a classical firmness of plan as well as a passion for lighting, and spacious interiors with the usage of extensive glazing. John Penn proceeded to go back to the United Kingdom - after working in New York offices of Skidmore, Owings & Merril - where he designed his first house for his mother in 1962. This launched his career where he received numerous local commissions. His works including a pavillion for Trinity College, Cambridge, a factory, 'temple' houses and several private residential houses in Suffolk. Alan Powers described about the 'temple' houses by John Penn in The Independent in 2007 as a distinctive architecture that had a similar character to that of Mies van der Rohe's houses. His creation is rational and serene and it is the apotheosis of the classics and the modern. However, as an architect, he never was able to achieve his peak and fully maximise his potential because of his inflexible approach along with his love for the Suffolk region where he resides.

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