Letchworth architect to be celebrated with new exhibition

The Garden City Collection are calling for pictures of Barry Parker houses. Picture: Jon Ball

The Garden City Collection are calling for pictures of Barry Parker houses. Picture: Jon Ball - Credit: Archant

An exhibition celebrating the life and works of architect Barry Parker will be on display at Letchworth’s Broadway Gallery from next week.

Parker – along with his business partner Raymond Unwin – created the template for the Garden Cities model, but his influence on architecture globally is less well known.

He believed that architecture and thoughtful planning of community spaces could change lives – Letchworth Garden City was his masterpiece and his home for more than 40 years.

The exhibition – which has been created by the team at the Garden City Collection – will showcase a selection of 4,500 historical objects from the Parker collection including architectural plans and drawings from both the UK and abroad, photographs, art and furniture pieces.

Curator at the Garden City Collection Vicky Axell said: “Parker had a unique approach to architecture but hasn’t enjoyed the same level of recognition of some of his peers.

“He is an undiscovered genius of the arts and crafts movement and had a big social conscience. He believed in building homes for all regardless of their wealth and social status in society.

“His ethos focused on harmony, sunlight and equality, which meant that the homes he designed were functional and beautiful, filled with light, affordable and fitted into the surrounding environment. Put simply, he wanted to create decent places for people to live – architecture for all.

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“His centenary felt like the right time to re-examine his contribution to architecture, and we hope that this exhibition achieves that.”

To coincide with the exhibition, Vicky and her colleagues have written a book entitled Barry Parker 1867-1947, Architecture of Harmony, Sunlight and Quality – which is based on research by Dr Mervyn Miller.

The book will feature more than 200 images from the Garden City Collection as a celebration of the archive held at the collection’s study centre. It will also explore private work and social housing projects in the UK and abroad where he planned towns in Brazil and Portugal.

To find out more about the exhibition, go to broadway-letchworth.comor call 01462 476110.