COMING AND GOING

THREE LONDON HOUSING ESTATES THAT ONCE EMBODIED THE COMMUNITY-ORIENTATED MODERNIST VALUES ARE BEING DEMOLISHED TO MAKE WAY FOR NEW IDEALS. WE TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT ONCE WAS AND WHAT WILL BE

KIDBROOKE: FERRIER ESTATE

CONSTRUCTION: 1967-72

ORIGINAL ARCHITECT: GREATER LONDON

COUNCIL’S ARCHITECTS DEPARTMENT

The 1,900 homes in 11 12-storey concrete blocks of the original Ferrier Estate in Kidbrooke, Greenwich are making way for a new development that will rebrand the area as Kidbrooke Village. Greenwich Council put the regeneration out to tender in 2001 and signed up developer Berkeley in 2007 alongside Southern Housing as the project’s affordable housing partner. The masterplan for the 109 ha site was drawn up in 2009 by architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, and demolition began following the approval of £108m funding from the Homes and Communities Agency, established under the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008, for the project. The new scheme comprises 4,000 homes, 38 per cent of which will be ‘affordable’ in blocks of flats of up to 15 storeys arranged in squares, and streets of terraced houses, as well as new transport, commercial and community facilities.

ELEPHANT AND CASTLE: HEYGATE ESTATE

CONSTRUCTION: 1967-1974 ORIGINAL ARCHITECT: TIM TINKER

Originally containing 1,260 homes in six high-rise blocks of flats and 11 low-rise blocks of maisonettes, the Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle is poised to be overhauled by Make Architects. The estate’s demise was made official in 2004 when Southwark Council adopted a regeneration masterplan for the area and began to ‘decant’ residents. A consortium of developers was chosen in 2007 – Lend Lease, First Base and Oakmayne – and demolition began in April 2011. However, residents have made several attempts to scupper the project, and the last few holdouts are campaigning against the Make masterplan. Ken Shuttleworth’s practice has proposed 2,500 new homes – 25 per cent ‘affordable’ – in clusters of blocks of between three and 30 storeys high, with shops and offices at ground level. A number of remaining residents are unimpressed by the amount and cost of the homes intended to replace their council-owned properties.

POPLAR: ROBIN HOOD GARDENS

CONSTRUCTION: 1966-72 ORIGINAL ARCHITECT: PETER AND ALISON SMITHSON

The area that Tower Hamlets Council and the Homes and Communities Agency are trying to relaunch as Blackwall Reach currently contains, among other things, the two blocks of Robin Hood Gardens – of 10 and seven storeys respectively – containing 213 homes: flats and maisonettes of one to three bedrooms. After a protracted regeneration tender process including an unsuccessful 2008 bid by Building Design and the Twentieth Century Society to get the estate listed, Swan Housing Association and Countryside Properties were chosen in February 2011 to redevelop the site. Working with architecture practices Horden Cherry Lee Architects and Aedas, the new scheme proposes 1,575 homes, of which up to 700 will be ‘affordable,’ arranged around a central park. Despite criticism by residents and architects alike, the council has approved an outline planning application that includes the demolition of Robin Hood Gardens.

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