Sunday, 19 May 2013
Here are a few pictures I took around Erno Goldfinger's Trellick Tower.
It's not an area I know that well. On the day, some time ago now, I wandered around a bit aimlessly and took lots of photos. It wasn't a particularly nice morning - but was made more enjoyable meeting a friend afterwards for custard cakes on Portobello.
Anyway, here's some colourful tiling, graffiti and low-rise council housing.
Friday, 17 May 2013
No, no, no. That's not me being greedy.
'I Want a Council House' is the name of a new show commissioned by Channel 4 looking at what life is like for the 1.8 million people in the UK who live in or need social housing.
The programme is being filmed over six months, mainly in Tower Hamlets and Manchester.
As well as following the stories of some of those on the waiting list, it will follow the work done daily by both the councils' lettings teams and the homeless persons' unit. More importantly, it will look at the perception problems faced by cash-strapped councils who are (sometimes) trying their best to solve their housing shortages.
For example - in Tower Hamlets the council faced huge opposition when it announced it wanted to demolish Robin Hood Gardens in favour of building high-density housing. Over at the Balfron Tower (pictured below) there are different issues. The building is listed, they can't knock it down. But they also don't have the money to renovate it. So now that all the families have been moved out a private development partner is being brought on board to fix it up. But at the end, how much social housing will there be left in there?
In both cases they may well be trying to do the right thing - the council needs money and it needs homes. But with so many forces at play - existing communities, historic architecture, raising money in the right way to develop the right thing - it's a thankless task.
It's easy to admire council housing built in the past - in so many cases local authorities did an excellent job. But there's hardly any being built now. Right-to-buy has come and gone - it's time to move on. Hopefully this programme will help liven up the debate.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Before Canary Wharf existed, before JG Ballard even envisaged it in High Rise, housing was being built in its shadow in the depths of east London.
The Will Crooks Estate is one of these. A classic LCC design, built around 1934, back when the main priority was to house the post-war population in comfortable accommodation with their own private bath.
There are loads of these kinds of blocks around London - this is a really nice example.
I wasn't able to go inside any of the flats - but the buildings look well kept. The windows have double glazing and there is some nice landscaping around.
Well worth a visit for council estate fans, I would say!
Monday, 13 May 2013
One of the lovely features about London council estates are the maps at the various entrances.
Here are a few
|Trellick & Edenham, Kensington; Spa Green, Clerkenwell; Sydenham Hill, Forest Hill, Kensal New Town, Kensington, Carpenters, Stratford|
Saturday, 11 May 2013
Clerkenwell Design Week is just around the corner. Three days all about architecture and design in one of the nicest parts of London.
This is a bit of a plug. I'm taking part in a talk on Thursday, 23 May at the Farmiloe Building called What's the Future of Social Housing?
It's chaired by FAT's Sam Jacob (among many other things he edits Strange Harvest) and I'll be speaking alongside Paul Karakusevic, director at Karakusevic Carson (he designed Bridport House - housing for Hackney Council) and Alex Morton from the think tank Policy Exchange.
It's free and should be fun. All you do is need to sign up here.
Thursday, 9 May 2013
I tend to do blog posts in bunches. It started with lots of east London, because that's where I walked my dog. Then once I went to west London and took pictures of a few estates around the Trellick Tower, and I did the same at Blackwall Reach around Robin Hood Gardens, the Balfron Tower and the Lansbury Estate in Poplar.
Most recently I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon walking around Clerkenwell with my friend Mike. He was kind enough to take pictures for me (I lost the charger for my camera - since found).
Here is the last place we visited that day - the Brunswick Close Estate.
This was built between 1949 and 1958. And these towers (below) were the first of their kind in the capital.
At 14 storeys high, they were for a time also the tallest. I love the detailing on the blue panels.
The blocks are now looked after by a tenant management organisation. And there's a lovely plaque commemorating the architect.
Tuesday, 7 May 2013
Oh no - another week and this is late again! It's tough keeping up with this blogging - especially when it's all sunny outside. And I was busy celebrating my birthday last week, by day plodding along the coast of the Gower peninsula, by night huddling by a camp fire outside a Shepherd's Hut.
Anyway. Here is a set of Lubetkin council blocks - some of my favourite in London (including my home!). Enjoy.
|Sivill House, Columbia Road; Spa Green, Clerkenwell; Cranbrook Estate, Mace Road|