The Corringham (2)

I have received a very helpful note from Celia Maxwell, the widow of the late Robert Maxwell, architect, architectural historian and the former Dean of the Architecture School at Princeton, about Douglas Stephen, who I described, as it turns out quite wrongly, as ‘somewhat mysterious’ only because I couldn’t find out much about him from my limited searches online and had a vague memory that quite a few people had worked for him in the 1960s.

She has allowed me to post it here where it will be more read than in the Comments section (not least, it is a way of encouraging people to go to the Maxwell exhibition in Dublin):-

There was nothing mysterious about Douglas. He was larger than life and had great style. A fellow student of Maxwell, James Stirling, Colin Rowe, and Thomas (Sam) Stephens at Liverpool, he set up an architectural practice with Margaret Dent in London and the firm designed many modernist buildings. Douglas himself favoured Terragni and designed a fine residential block in Kensington.

The practice was a hotbed of thinking-practicing architects in London during the late 1950’s and 60’s. Other notable architects who worked at Douglas Stephen were Alan Forest, Adrian Gale, Birkin Haward, Edward Jones, Panos Koulermos, David Wild and Elia Zenghelis. Kenneth was editing a journal the time and my late husband Robert Maxwell teaching while designing buildings at DS & P.

Maxwell was a partner in the firm for many years and designed several projects. His best project being the Southwood Park Flats, about which Kenneth Frampton made some glowing remarks at the symposium relating to the Maxwell Scott exhibition currently on at the Irish Architectural Archive in Dublin.


2 thoughts on “The Corringham (2)

  1. Douglas was married to, and later divorced from, Margaret, but they remained good friends. Douglas was a friend of mine. I inherited a girlfriend from him (Helen McEachrane, then working for Alvin Boyarsky at the AA; sad to say she died of cancer this year). Douglas lived in a small house in Camden Hill and then in a splendid – I think lock-keeper’s – house straddling Regents Canal with Sandy Boyle, a quiet New Zealander; I introduced them. She was the very opposite of Douglas, who was lively, noisy and a vigorous debater. I am so glad you have discovered this colourful character. One of the firm’s major projects was the modernist Brunel Centre in Swindon.
    David Gordon

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