2 Willow Road
2 Willow Road was designed by Hungarian architect Ernö Goldfinger in 1939 for himself and his family. Aided by the funds of his wife Ursula, the project was meant as an investment of her fortune as well as an opportunity for Ernö to demonstrate his skill and vision.
Although it was always intended as a family home, 2 Willow Road kicked up its share of controversy as some feared its ‘modern’ aesthetic would be too out of place in the neighborhood. Opponents to the project associated “modern” too hastily with rectangular shapes and exposed concrete. However, Goldfinger stated that: “Only the Eskimos and the Zulus build anything but rectangular houses” and said that the flats were designed in keeping with the local Downshire Hill aesthetics that could be found down the road. The project was eventually finished in 1939.
Asides from being an exemplary model for socially conscious Modernist design, the house also functions as a museum, displaying both personal artifacts and Goldfinger’s collection of Modern art, and giving a unique insight in Modernism as an experience based idealism. The collection includes works by Henry Moore, Max Ernst and Bridget Riley. Guided tours are available from 11 am to 2 pm each day on a first come, first serve basis. During the tour you can see a short film into Goldfinger’s life, his uniquely designed laminate top desk, rotating guest exhibitions, and multiple items of bespoke furniture designed by Goldfinger.
2 Willow Road is part of London Open House and London Shh.