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Pullman Court, Lambeth

Description: Pullman Court

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 16 January 1981
English Heritage Building ID: 204702

OS Grid Reference: TQ3046473252
OS Grid Coordinates: 530464, 173252
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4432, -0.1241

Location: 7 Streatham Hill, London SW2 SW2 4SX

Locality: Lambeth
County: Greater London
Country: England
Postcode: SW2 4SX

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Listing Text

(east side)

26/1128 Pullman Court
Nos 1 to 218



Ten ranges of flats arranged in three blocks, designed as a tight, single composition, with open-air swimming pool. 1933-5 by Frederick Gibberd; Mouchel and Partners engineers. Reinforced concrete frame on 11'3" centres clad in four inch concrete panels now rendered and painted, with some tile cladding and with a one inch layer of cork insulation. Flat roof. A near symmetrical composition, save that in the central line of the two main blocks all galleries face north and all balconies face south. The plan was determined by the long, narrow site and by the desire to minimise the impact of the busy main road. The main composition consists of two long blocks set either side of an access road. These each comprise a three-storey block to the front (with type A accommodation), with prominent central projecting stair tower, with long five-storey ranges at right-angles behind (type B), terminating in five and three-storey ranges (the last with type C accommodation) at the rear again set at right angles and running away from the access road; that to the north set round the swimming pool. In addition the northern block has a three-storey wing projecting towards the road at its northern end (again with type C accommodation). Terminating the vista to the east is a seven-storey block with a double cruciform plan and entirely symmetrical (type D). The ranges are further distinguished by containing different sizes of flats. Type A are the largest flats, comprising three bedrooms with living rooms and a dining recess. Type B consists of one and two-room flats each with their own balcony, the two-room flats with a sliding partition to unite the living and bedrooms if required; they are served by access galleries on the shady side of the blocks. Type C and D are three-room flats, type D to a longer and less compact plan. Both are reached off central staircases.
All elevations of white painted render, with original metal windows and most flats retaining original doors. All blocks have a steel balustrade to roof, with gantry to enable easy window cleaning - an early example of such a feature. The abutment of the front ranges with the five-storey ranges behind allows for the expression of glazed stairwells on both ranges to be treated as a continuous composition, to which the projecting galleries on the northern face of the latter add a further constructivist interest. On the front elevation the largest flats have projecting bays to their living rooms, at front and back, clad in cream glazed tiles uncovered in 1996. The long south elevations have projecting balconies on the upper floors to alternating bays, of alternating widths, with thin steel balustrading to sides and fronts - again alternately. Northern elevations with access galleries to each upper floor reached via stairs at the end of each range. The staircase entrances with original glass double doors with chrome push plates and fittings. The lower rear blocks with all-steel balustrades to projecting balconies and single central door to central staircase. The rear block similarly treated but a more monumental composition, with vertically glazed windows turning corners in the re-entrant angles on the front facade, and broad concrete balconies to front projecting wings. Central entrance set back under broad canopy.
Simple steel balustrading to staircases continues the idiom of the exterior into the internal public spaces. The interiors of the flats not inspected.
Pullman Court is one of the first developments of flats built in the International Modern style in Britain. Its style owes something to the work of Walter Gropius and German constructivism, with a variety of detailing and refinement not found in other British flats at that time, and with a practicality in the features and fittings that was also unusual and far-sighted. It is the first major work of its architect, Sir Frederick Gibberd, who went on to specialise in the design of flats and later to be the master planner of Harlow New Town and architect of Heathrow Airport and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, but who did not venture another serious essay in such a fundamentally modern style.
Architecture, Design and Construction, July 1935
Building, February 1936
Architects' Journal, 6 August 1936
Information from Lady Gibberd

Listing NGR: TQ3046473252

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.