Offered for sale for the first time in 50 years, this rare Brutalist home is part of a small development of homes designed by award-winning architect Lawrence Abbott and built by the Apex Society in the 1960s. These homes are known locally as the ‘upside-down’ or ‘Elephant’ Houses owing to their unique design, colour and tube-shaped feature staircases. The homes are grouped in eight blocks of four and were built in pale grey brick and white mortar containing sparkly quartz. Each block is a square, divided by an S-shaped wall giving an internal curved wall for each home. The external guttering is hidden within the fabric of the walls making these homes a true architectural masterpiece. The homes also featured an innovative integral warm-air heating system, which have since been replaced by radiators.
Built as part of a drive to provide affordable housing in Greater London and the Home Counties, the homes were sold under a scheme that allowed the occupants to purchase 45 per cent of their property, with each applicant only accepted onto the scheme if qualifying under the strict guidelines A pioneering scheme similar to shared ownership we find common today. By 1981, the rules were relaxed and people were allowed to buy their properties outright and sell them on as they wished.
The small development is locally listed by Surrey Heath Borough Council as ‘Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest’.
The property itself is a vacant 3-storey, 3-bedroom house with a patio garden and garage requiring complete refurbishment and as such is only suitable for cash buyers. This property retains many of its original features including U-shaped windows, curved walls and light-flooded internal rooms.
Containing two double bedrooms each with built-in wardrobes and a third single bedroom or study on the second floor. Outside is a private patio garden and further well-maintained communal grounds plus a garage.
Daniel Gale, Head of Auctions at First for Auctions who are marketing the property said “This is an incredible opportunity to purchase a historical architect-designed property and put your own stamp on the interior space. These iconic homes rarely come up for sale, and one in almost original condition is particularly unusual.”
18 Apex Drive is listed for sale in First for Auctions September auction on 29 September 2023 at 10am with a guide price of £210,000.
About the architect Lawrence Abbott (Laurie Abbott)
Laurie Abbott alongside building the small development at Apex Drive in Frimley, was a senior director at the Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP) and was involved in the Pompidou Centre and the Lloyd's building. He joined Team 4 at RRP as an assistant architect, working on Creek Vean in Cornwall. In 1971 he joined Piano + Rogers and worked in Paris for five years, where he was the project architect for the Pompidou Centre, responsible for the services and structure. From the inception of Richard Rogers Partnership, (RRP) in 1977, Laurie was a consultant on many significant projects and produced the initial concept work for Lloyd’s of London. He spent five years as head of the Japan office in Tokyo designing and overseeing nine projects, including the Kabuki-cho Tower and Saitama Arena in Tokyo and the Industrial Housing in Korea.
As the director responsible for environmental research, Laurie’s specialisation in this field can be seen in the Daimler Chrysler offices and housing project at Potzdamer Platz in Berlin. He also worked on Las Arenas – an adaptive reuse project, which transformed an historic bullring into a retail and office building. Laurie worked on the design concepts for many of RRP’s masterplan projects, including the Coin Street Development and the Royal Academy Exhibition ‘London as it could be’ in 1986.
Laurie was created an RIBA Honorary Fellow in 2000 for Engineering.
You tube interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNx_JI7z600
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