Goldfinger, Peter (26 of 33) National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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    Interviewee's home, London and the British Library

  • Interviewees

    Goldfinger, Peter, 1933- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Courtney, Cathy (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 26: Guardian newspaper article about Eileen Grey’s house which she built for herself in Roquebrune and which PG’s parents rented for summer holidays. Reference in article to dilapidated state of house and PG’s memories of it and of Badevicci’s partner. PG’s experience in Vezelay visiting Badevicci with his parents, fresco by Corbusier. Erno’s attitude to Corbusier’s work. PG’s engineering life, his role as senior engineer. Project of factory for Sainsbury. PG’s research into food factories in US. Visit to existing Sainsbury factory in Essex. ‘Pigs going in at one end and coming out as sausages at t’other’. 1964/5 remembers hams being smoked. Special services and hygiene required in food factory. Details of what he learned from his visit there and what was worked out with architects. Factory never built. Pecking-order in PG’s office. Other jobs after Sainsbury project fell through. Four or five senior engineers, draughtsmen for engineering drawings, tracers for another type of drawing. PG thinks engineers should do their own drawings, explains. Tradition requires beautiful drawing for client or for tender. Borrowing engineers from contractors, examples of frequent mistakes, inaccurate calculations, misinterpretation of client’s requirements. PG good at understanding what clients wanted, engineers not, a fault in their training. Engineers in his office all male, tracers women, draughtsmen male, secretaries female. Secretary for each partner. Girl typists, male filing-clerks. Description of office space, measurements of attic floor. Very hot in summer, very cold in winter. Moved out in 70’s and joined up with Ewbanks in Alliance House in Victoria. Hectic atmosphere, hard-working office. Chatting between staff, swear-box, penalty one penny per swear. Clothing in 60’s changed from suits, shirts, ties to turtle-neck sweaters. PG wore roll-neck sweater, sports jacket, trousers, but suit, shirt and tie if going to a meeting. His suits made by tailor, his ties knitted and bought in Kingsway, London. Rivalry in the office. PG’s friendship with one of the engineers, Robert Singer, re contracting industry. PG’s graduate apprenticeship with Haydens who sent him to college to learn about that kind of engineering. In those days consultants were quite a new breed. Difference between contractor and consultant

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