Ask the Architect: Join the Conversation with Piers Gough


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Piers Gough.

Piers Gough is an eminently English architect responsible for many witty, eclectic buildings across the UK. Based in London, he designed Maggie’s Nottingham, completed in 2011, in collaboration with fashion designer Paul Smith and landscape practice Envert. Raised above the ground, this vivid green pavilion with four oval facades is included in Maggie’s Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care on view in the Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art through January 5.

In 1975, as Swinging London morphed into the home of punk and New Wave, Gough formed the practice now known as CZWG (the G is for Gough). He had studied at London’s Architectural Association where he first met historian Charles Jencks and his wife Maggie Keswick. Early projects such as offices for Time Out offset existing built fabric with new Pop aesthetics. In the 1980s, CZWG were pioneers in London’s former docklands with eye-catching residential projects like China Wharf, with its signature red façade, and Circle with its distinctive cobalt blue gables. For many a favorite CZWG building is the triangular, celadon-tiled pavilion accommodating a florist’s kiosk and a public lavatory in tony Notting Hill.

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Circle, Bermondsey, London (1989), © Jo Reid & John Peck.

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Westbourne Grove Public Lavatories, Notting Hill, London (1993); © Chris Gascoigne.

Gough and CZWG are the architects for these and other visually inventive structures that work to communicate with and engage the public. Gough is also deeply knowledgeable about architectural history. In 1982 he designed a memorable exhibition on the work of Edwardian architect Edwin Lutyens in the unlikely, Brutalist setting of London’s Hayward Gallery. In 1998 Gough was appointed a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for services to architecture; he was elected a Royal Academician in 2002.

Visitors to Maggie’s Centres: A Blueprint for Cancer Care are invited to submit questions for this articulate architect on a dedicated board in the galleries. What were his intentions when designing this unique center for cancer patients? What gave rise to the building’s unique shape and color palette? How did Gough envisage cancer patients and caregivers using the building on a daily basis? Were there any surprises, or elements he might now change? Selected questions will be put to Piers Gough during an online Q&A scheduled for Friday, December 5 and subsequently posted on the Carnegie Museum of Art website. You can register for the event and submit a question by clicking here.