Object of the month: June 2016

Leonard Manasseh RA's Design for Radipole Lake pumping station

Published 1 June 2016

As we celebrate Leonard Manasseh RA’s 100th birthday, we take a look at the architect’s design for Radipole Lake pumping station.

  • Leonard Manasseh established his architectural practice, Leonard Manasseh & Partners in 1949, the same year he won his first major commission to design the luxury restaurant for the Festival of Britain. However, the plans for the restaurant were cancelled and instead Manasseh designed the public lavatories and ’51 Bar.

    This proved fortuitous, as Manasseh’s practice developed a reputation for creating buildings serving public facility needs on sensitive sites. His Diploma work, given to the RA on his election, Design for Radipole Lake pumping station (1979; pictured), illustrates this, as it depicts a sewage pumping station situated in a nature reserve.

  • Manasseh trained and was taught at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in Bedford Square, where he formed a lasting working collaboration with Dame Elizabeth Chesterton, a fellow student. Chesterton specialised in planning, particularly in the area of conservation of historic buildings, while Manasseh as architect worked on creating site-sensitive buildings that maintained the historical integrity of heritage sites.

    Manasseh’s design for Radipole Lake pumping station is a copy print of his plans, to which he added pencil shading and colouring in blue and turquoise crayon. It played a key role in convincing the local officials of Weymouth that the intended pumping station could add to, rather than ruin, the beauty of the area.

    The upper half of the plan depicts the elevation of the site, where the outline of the station is seen situated on the edge of the water and reflected in the lake. The lower half of the sheet shows the site plan, incorporated into its wooded location, complete with a line of parked cars nearby.

    The artist of the month for May 2016 is Bill Jacklin RA. Read more from the RA Collection.