Chris Dyson, Architect.
I was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire and my immediate family is from Yorkshire. I moved around a lot with my parents during my youth before settling down south in the Surrey hills. Then it was off to university studies in Architecture at Oxford Polytechnic, now Brookes, and on to Glasgow School of Art. Both places were an inspiration.
I have lived and worked in Spitalfields for thirty years – setting up the practice Chris Dyson Architects in 2004 after many years at James Stirling and Michael Wilford’s studio, and Farrells before setting up and growing the practice to 22 people as it is today, with partners and an entourage of young talented people. Appreciating people and places has become integral to my life: both these aspects come before my practice as an architect, which gets me out of bed each day and I cannot imagine doing anything else.
The place I have chosen is my studio in London on the corner of Fashion and Commercial Streets in Spitalfields, just 5 minutes’ walk from home. We restored this corner building [a former pub known as the Queen’s Head] in 2018. The iridescent green ceramic tiles are all handmade and sit nicely on the Portland stone base, with fine steel glazing bars for the display windows. These aspects make and mark the building at ground floor level. Our studios occupy the upper parts and we added a kitchen and roof terrace at roof level to enjoy the light, air and views out over the city of London.
The bright yellow canopies at ground floor level keep the sun out of the high ceilings and add a joyful splash of colour both inside and outside the building, spreading as internal blinds of the same colour on the studio levels. Alvar Aalto used yellow in his Paimio Sanitorium in Finland to cheer up the long term occupants.
Colour is an important aspect of architecture, important for its psychological aspects. In our recently completed bookshop we employed the Yves Klein blue which compliments the warm timber interiors of that project.