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Chipperfield demands social housing shake-up

David Chipperfield has called for a radical shake-up of how the United Kingdom delivers its social housing.

The RIBA Gold Medal-winner suggested putting together a team of developers, ‘[people] like Stuart Lipton’, with politicians and advisers ‘to tackle the issues of affordable housing at the highest level’.

He said: ‘What the hell happened to housing [in this country]? There must be an intelligent way of delivering housing and it’s something we are going to have to confront.’

Chipperfield, who was presenting his ideas for the Venice Biennale, of which he is curator this year, urged government intervention to increase the country’s stock of social housing. 

‘It won’t happen by dint of the market. The market isn’t going to say: I’ve got an amazing site in Camden where we can put some really low-rent apartments. You can only do it if the government pulls some strings.’ 

He added: ‘Why can’t we be more committed to affordable housing, not as an adjunct to unaffordable housing, but as an aim in itself?’

Although Chipperfield has built social housing in Madrid, he has yet to deliver any affordable home schemes in the UK. He said he would like to, despite never having been asked.

The architect also echoed comments made recently by Richard Rogers about the dangers of urban sprawl (AJ 24.01.12).

He said: ‘Housing is what we used to make cities out of. 

‘Instead of just eating up green fields and making more and more suburbia, why can’t we be more committed to building on brownfield sites? 

‘Why can’t we be more committed to medium-density housing on the European model?

Chipperfield won the AJ100’s Contribution to the Profession award this year.

Read the full interview with the winner of the AJ100’s Contribution to the Profession Award

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