Eric Parry – Episode Thirteen

Our guest this week is the architect Eric Parry.  Eric was born in Kuwait in 1952 where his father was the country’s Chief Medical Officer, helping establish its health service.  When Eric was ten, the family returned to the UK and settled in Liverpool.

Eric later studied architecture at Newcastle University in the early 1970s before going on to spend a year in Iran studying nomadic settlements.

Returning again to the UK, Eric studied at Hornsey College of Art, before going on to gain his MA at the Royal College of Art, and then on to the Architectural Association.

Eric began his professional career as a lecturer at Cambridge University – where he taught for 14 years. Alongside his teaching, in 1983 he founded Eric Parry Architects. But in 1997 he made a decision to focus principally on the business – which is now a 90 person strong practice based just off Old Street in East London. The practice has developed a huge body of critically acclaimed work, especially in the cultural and conservation sectors, and mainly in London. Much of his work has a strong focus on the materials used, with a strong artistic influence.

In this week’s episode we talk about Eric’s early influences in Athens and Rome – as well as his interest in nomadic settlements.  We talk about his work teaching and the move from academia to practice. We touch on some of the practice’s most notable projects including the renovation – or renewal – of St Martin in the Fields church just off Trafalgar Square in London, as well as Pembroke College in Cambridge and One Eagle Place, just of Piccadilly.

And finally we hear about the practice’s recent plans for 1 Underschaft, which is set to become one of the tallest buildings in the City of London

Programme Notes

Some of the practice’s other work, mentioned in the episode includes:

Four Pancras Square, a new office block in Kings Cross, for developer Argent, with facades of rich weathering steel and white glazed ceramics (also referenced in Episode Nine with Roger Madelin)

The new museum, café and learning centre for London’s Charterhouse, a former 14th-century Carthusian monastery and burial ground in Clerkenwell.

Eric also talks about teaching alongside the late Sandy Wilson and also mentions the Indian Architect Doshi