F. R. S. Yorke

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Francis Reginald Stevens Yorke (3 December 1906 – 10 June 1962), known professionally as F. R. S. Yorke[1] and informally as Kay or K, was an English architect and author.

One of the first native British architects to design in a modernist style,[2] he made numerous contacts with leading European architects while contributing to Architects' Journal in the 1930s, and in 1933 was secretary and founder member of the MARS Group.[3] From 1935 until 1962 he was the editor of an annual publication Specification.[4] Between 1935 and 1937 he worked in partnership with the Hungarian architect and former Bauhaus teacher Marcel Breuer, before forming the Yorke Rosenberg Mardall partnership in 1944 together with Eugene Rosenberg (1907-1990) and Cyril Mardall (Sjöström) (1909-1994), with whom he designed many post-war buildings including Gatwick Airport.[5]

Yorke was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, where his father was also an architect, and studied architecture and planning at the Birmingham School of Architecture, where his fellow students included other notable early modernist figures including Richard Sheppard, Frederick Gibberd, Colin Penn and Robert Furneaux Jordan.[5]

The Modern House[edit]

In 1934, Yorke wrote The Modern House, a book that introduced modernist houses, fourteen pages of which were dedicated to English examples. Yorke was inspired by seeing modern architecture on his Prague visit in 1931 and initially collaborated on the book with the Czech architect Karel Honzík.[6][7] He wrote a follow-up article in the Architectural Review in 1936 focusing on the use of concrete and this included a further eleven English houses. These contributions helped lay the basis for the postwar English fascination with concrete.[8] In 1937 he published The Modern House in England which illustrated houses from a number of his fellows from the MARS group. The book was split into chapters on brick and stone, timber frame and concrete. It included a foreword by William Lethaby[9] Also in 1937 Yorke together with Frederick Gibberd published The Modern Flat and in 1939 with Colin Penn A Key to Modern Architecture.

Notable buildings[edit]


According to an article in the Independent on 19 March 1995,[3] Torilla, the house in Nast Hyde, Hatfield, was listed in 1983 then delisted the following year when permission was given to demolish it. It was bought by a new purchaser on 11 May 1993 who intended to demolish it but who discovered it had been re-listed the previous month, on 23 April 1993. According to the article, "the house had always been almost uninhabitable because of faults in its experimental design. The concrete walls and roof were too thin and lacked thermal insulation. Mould grew on walls and curtains and clothing rotted when it was heated because of excess condensation on cold walls." The cost of repairs to make it habitable was estimated at £400,000.


  1. ^ Worsley, Giles (10 May 2003). "Master builder: F R S Yorke". The Daily Telegraph. p. 10. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  2. ^ Pile, John F. (2005) [2000]. "The Spread of Early Modernism in Europe". A History of Interior Design (2nd ed.). London: Laurence King Publishing. p. 370. ISBN 1-85669-418-6.
  3. ^ Bullock, Nicholas (2002). "Rethinking the new architecture". Building the Post-war World: Modern Architecture and Reconstruction in Britain. London: Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 0-415-22179-X.
  4. ^ Melvin, Jeremy (2003). FRS Yorke and the Evolution of English Modernism. Wiley-Academy. p. 131.
  5. ^ a b Sheppard, Richard; rev. Powers, Alan (2004). "Yorke, Francis Reginald Stevens (1906–1962)". In Powers, Alan (ed.). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/37067. Retrieved 1 June 2008.
  6. ^ Margolius, Ivan (2017). "Honzík and Yorke: How a Czech Architect Became the Prime Mover in the Ascent of Modern Architecture in Great Britain". The British Czech and Slovak Review (Winter): 6–7. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  7. ^ Melvin, Jeremy (2003). FRS Yorke and the Evolution of English Modernism. Wiley-Academy. p. 96.
  8. ^ Mallgrave (2009). p. 314
  9. ^ Yorke (1947), p. 5-8
  10. ^ a b The Twentieth Century Society (2017). 100 Houses 100 Years. London: Batsford. ISBN 978-1-84994-437-3.
  11. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1353897)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ Nairn & Pevsner 1965, p. 205.


  • Mallgrave, Harry, F (2009). Modern Architectural Theory - A Historical Survey, 1673-1968. Cambridge University Press.
  • Nairn, Ian; Pevsner, Nikolaus (1965). The Buildings of England: Sussex. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-071028-0.
  • Yorke, Francis, R S (1934). The Modern House. The Architectural Press.
  • Yorke, Francis, R S (1947). The Modern English House. The Architectural Press.
  • Yorke & Gibberd, Francis, R S & Frederick (1937). The Modern Flat. The Architectural Press.
  • Yorke & Penn, Francis, R S & Colin (1939). A Key to Modern Architecture. Blackie & Son.
  • Melvin, Jeremy (2003). FRS Yorke and the Evolution of English Modernism. Wiley-Academy.