Foundation stone: leading architects on the homes that shaped them

How does your childhood home influence the one you make yourself? Seven leading architects look back at the foundations of their career. Julia Barfield, 63, is a director at Marks Barfield Architects. Her projects include the London Eye (for which she received an MBE in 2000), the UK’s first green mosque, in Cambridge, and the newly opened British Airways i360 tower in Brighton. I was born in Buckinghamshire and moved to London aged four, so I regard myself as a Londoner. Growing up, I lived with my parents and sister in a late-Victorian, four-bedroom mansion block flat in West Kensington. The flat was T-shaped and all of the rooms to the right-hand side of the central corridor looked out on to the street. At the end of the T was a small kitchen, where we held all our birthday parties and made dens. I would run up and down the corridor, playing with the cat. We shared the flat with two lodgers; I shared a room with my sister until our early teens. I remember looking out of our bedroom window one afternoon, watching prefabs coming off the back of lorries and being slotted together. It was the early 1960s, so there were still quite a lot of bomb sites in our neighborhoods. To watch these houses being built, with people moving in the very next week, was amazing.


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