Home is where the Spit­fires are

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Life Property -

“They could quite pos­si­bly have stock­piled them and used them for their fighter planes when war broke out. Al­ter­na­tively, they of­ten can­ni­balised downed air­craft, and could have come by the tyres that way. It is per­fectly fea­si­ble that the Red Baron flew on Bri­tish tyres.” In short, Sir Terry’s flat is a fan­tasy for any air­craft fan. But there are many other themes run­ning through the in­te­rior. There is a col­lec­tion of an­tique ca­noes. There is a set of model cars, another of model ships. “It’s all about sto­ry­telling,” says Sir Terry. “In city plan­ning, cre­at­ing an in­te­rior gar­den around an atrium takes peo­ple on a jour­ney. It’s the same with this place. I used to do a lot of ca­noe­ing, and my daugh­ter bought the cars in Cuba. But the most pow­er­ful story of all is the Spit­fire. That’s what un­der­pins ev­ery­thing.” The leg­endary Bri­tish plane is not short of ad­mir­ers. Yet for Sir Terry, his re­la­tion­ship with it is par­tic­u­larly in­ti­mate: he sees it as the em­bod­i­ment of his aes­thetic prin­ci­ples. “The Spit­fire con­tin­u­ally evolved through­out the war,” he says. “By 1945, it was 30 to 40 per cent faster than it was at the be­gin­ning. That strikes a chord with my ap­proach to ar­chi­tec­ture – evolv­ing and in­no­vat­ing, but re­main­ing true to the orig­i­nal spirit.” There could be no more apt de­scrip­tion of Sir Terry’s liv­ing space – or in­deed of the Old Aeroworks it­self. ‘The City as a Tan­gled Bank: Ur­ban De­sign Ver­sus Ur­ban Evo­lu­tion’, by Sir Terry Far­rell, is out now (£27.99, Wi­ley)

Sto­ry­book storeys: Sir Terry Far­rell in his home where model Spit­fires on the roof and the Palmer Tyre fac­tory plaque bear wit­ness to its for­mer use. In­side, the space owes much to the Spit­fire and the col­lec­tions in­clude ca­noes, cars and ships

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