BEST OF BRITISH DESIGN - ERIC LYONS
Most desired is his bent ply chair. Eric Lyons was born in 1912. His father was a toy designer.In 1930 he was articled to the architect Stanley Beard while attending evening classes at Regents Street Polytechnic (where he met Townsend). After qualifying he worked for T.P. Bennett and then Gropius and Fry. In 1938 he designed a small office behind the Odeon, Leicester Square for Andrew Mather. Later that year Lyons and Townsend formed an architectural practice. During the War Lyons worked for Harry Weedon designing factories and hostels. After the War he resumed his practice with Townsend. The housing scheme he devised with Townsend in1948 in Twickenham demonstrated how the landscaping of the common space could provide a visual link between the four maisonette blocks.
During the 1940’s Lyons designed the best selling Tecta Range for the furniture manufacturer Packet. With Townsend as developer and Lyons as consultant architect the building of Parkleys begun in 1954.By the early 1960’s Lyons had designed housing schemes for SPAN at Blackheath, Beckenham, Twickenham, Teddington, Putney and Cambridge. Eric Lyons and Partners had also been involved in the design of high density housing estates for local authorities in London and Southampton. Lyons approach was all embracing. He believed that the architect should provide a service to society. Lyons was convinced that residents’ societies helped engender a sense of belonging and community. Lyons performed the function of ‘architectural generalist’ taking an active involvement in the design, town planning and landscaping requirements of the SPAN housing schemes.
Photos courtesy of: HOMESPUNVITNAGE, CONCRETE BOX, PATCH ROGERS