John Voelcker

John Voelcker at the Team 10 meeting in Bagnols 1960

John Harold Westgarth Voelcker was born in Preston, Lancs in 1927. He studied at the Abbotsholme School before attending the London Architectural Associaton (AA School) in 1944. Voelcker then spent three years in the service and a short time with the Architects Co-Partnership before returning to the AA in 1948. After graduating, he worked for a short while with BBPR in Milan, where he met with Giancarlo De Carlo. From 1949 onward he was involved in the activities of MARS as a youth member. In that quality he participated in the CIAM IX congress where he presented the ‘Zone Grid’, a summary of his final project at the AA that he designed with his fellow students Pat Crooke and Andrew Derbyshire. Voelcker became an important initiator and contributor to Team 10 in its early stages, when Team 10 was still part of CIAM. In the 1960s an alienation between Voelcker and Team 10 took place, especially after Alison Smithson erased him as a member in her re-edition of the Team 10 Primer of 1968. He still had a good relationship with some of the inner circle, such as Aldo van Eyck and Giancarlo De Carlo.

In 1954, Voelcker and his family left London and started working from home in Staplehurst, Kent and this mostly on domestic conversion and modernization work. At that time he was also a part-time lecturer at Medway College of Art, Rochester (1954-56) where he taught building construction. He later moved to Sutton Valence as his practice expanded. His work included farm improvement schemes, new school and office buildings, some private houses and housing schemes. He continued teaching on a part-time basis at the AA School and at Cambridge University. In 1965 he was appointed director of Senior Studies at the AA. He gave up practice in Kent around 1968 to become first professor of architecture at the Glasgow University in 1969.
John Voelcker died in 1972.