Dimensions of a House (Museum)

The Mosaic Rooms, Walmer Yard, The Cosmic House

2pm - 5.30pm, 5 August 2022

Spend an afternoon exploring architecturally significant, eclectic and fictive house museums in West London, starting with a tour by the curator of Mahmoud Khaled’s exhibition Fantasies on a Found Phone, Dedicated to the Man Who Lost it, we will walk through Holland Park, followed by a walk through House 1 at Walmer Yard, led by its keeper Laura Mark and culminating in a visit to The Cosmic House.

• 2-2.30pm: Refreshments and Tour at The Mosaic Rooms
• 30 mins walk from The Mosaic Rooms to Walmer Yard
• 3pm: Refreshments and Tour at Walmer Yard
• 10 mins walk from Walmer Yard to The Cosmic House
• 4pm: Visit of The Cosmic House

The Mosaic Rooms’ Fantasies on a Found Phone, Dedicated to the Man Who Lost it is a series of unfolding installations and interventions artist Mahmoud Khaled builds an immersive environment. He ambitiously transforms The Mosaic Rooms period, domestic architecture into the imagined dwellings of the owner of a lost phone. The work continues Khaled’s interest in historic house museums and the nostalgia and memorialising of individual perspectives found in them. In this new commission the artist repositions this museological form in a contemporary queer lens to explore male identity and intimacy.

Walmer Yard is formed of four interlocking houses wrapped around a courtyard in London’s Notting Hill. Designed by the renowned architect Peter Salter together with Fenella Collingridge, and developed by Crispin Kelly, the building is the reflection of a long education and the product of a decade of learning, thought and inspiration. From the play of light, shadow and colour, to the intense celebration of materials and constantly fresh sequences of spaces, these houses celebrate what architecture can deliver at the domestic scale. The houses now form the home of the Baylight Foundation, a charitable organisation with the aim of increasing the public understanding of what architecture can do, rooted in the experience of Walmer Yard.

The Cosmic House is one of the key landmarks in the development of Post-Modernist architecture. A hugely influential distillation of the ideas at the heart of Post-Modern thought in culture and science, it is a remarkable testament to the polymathic talents of Maggie and Charles Jencks. Designed in collaboration with architect (Sir) Terry Farrell and built between 1978 and 1983 the house subverts the genteel architecture of Holland Park, exaggerating, caricaturing and embellishing the white stucco until it becomes a microcosm of contemporary architectural theory, semiotics and historiography. An almost human character is imposed on the architecture with each element related to the human body and then to the larger cosmos. Densely packed with ideas, symbols and motifs, its architecture embraces an entire cosmos of architectural allusion, history, metaphor and reference.