Isokon Gallery opens with help from National Trust

Isokon Building on Lawn Road, Hampstead © National Trust

Isokon Building on Lawn Road, Hampstead

A brand new exhibition space is opening at the historic site of Grade I listed Lawn Road Flats in North London. This exciting new exhibition looks at the building’s design, its notable residents and its iconic Isokon furniture, telling the remarkable story of the Isokon apartment building.

The Lawn Road Flats opened in 1934 as a progressive experiment in new ways of urban living. The flats are the first block ever to be built chiefly using reinforced concrete. The white ship-like building would have seemed like something out of a science fiction fantasy to onlookers at the time.

Much like Erno Goldfinger, architect of one of our nearby places, 2 Willow Road, Isokon architect Wells Coates was inspired by Le Corbusier – a pioneer of modernist architecture who believed buildings should be ‘machines for living.’

As a result, the Isokon’s thirty two flats were designed to create the greatest possible utility and comfort out of the smallest possible dimensions. Whilst initially unpopular with prospective tenants, the flats gradually started to attract stylish young professionals and the likes of Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Agatha Christie. The apartment’s ground floor bar also became a well-known hangout for local and émigré intelligentsia and bohemia of the time.

Open for you to enjoy

After being sold to Camden Borough Council in 1972, the building gradually fell into disrepair and in 1990 was abandoned. Avanti Architects, specialists in refurbishing modernist buildings, beautifully restored the apartments in 2004 and now provide accommodation for key workers.

The gallery is now open every weekend thanks to a brand new team of our volunteers, supported by the expertise of our London Project. We're excited to be telling the story of this revolutionary building and its significance as the first example of modernist communal living in the UK.

  • Isokon Gallery, Lawn Road, Hampstead, NW3 2XD
  • Open every Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4pm, March – October
  • Free entry

Find out more about Isokon Gallery…