W.G. Howell (1922-74), J.A.W. Killick (1924-71), J.A. Partridge (1924–) and S.F. Amis (1924–) met at the Architectural Association and, working as a team in the London County Council Architect’s Department, designed the Alton West estate in Roehampton. Launched into private practice with their 1959 entry for the Churchill College competition, the partnership was lauded as one of the most creative and idiosyncratic of Britain’s post-war architects. Although identified with the expansion of higher education, their workload ranged from lavish private residences to housing schemes via theatres and civic buildings.
HKPA developed a bold visual language based upon manifest structure and strongly modelled surfaces. Architectural concepts were often expressed in terms of physiological analogies—the ‘erupted skin’ and ‘vertebrate building’—continuing a long tradition of architectural metaphors of the body. Their work transcends the New Brutalist label with which it is often associated through its sensitivity to historic context and landscape setting and a highly refined sense of light and materials.