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Haworth Tompkins lands Robin Hood Gardens role

The Robin Hood Gardens estate in Poplar, east London. Image by Janet Hall RIBA Library Photographs Collection
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Haworth Tompkins has been brought in to work on the replacement for Alison and Peter Smithson’s soon-to-be-demolished Robin Hood Gardens estate in Tower Hamlets

The Stirling Prize-winning practice joins Metropolitan Workshop Architects on the scheme - phase 2 of the estate’s regeneration - which will see the Brutalist western block of the 1972 ‘streets in the sky’ flattened to make way for around 200 homes.

Metropolitan Workshop has already worked on refining the original redevelopment masterplan for the east London estate next to the Blackwall Tunnel - officially the Blackwall Reach Regeneration Project. 

Jestico + Whiles, which was appointed with Metropolitan Workshop on the masterplan review following a contest in 2013, is no longer involved in the project.

Chosen by project backers, Swan Housing Association, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the Greater London Authority (GLA), the Haworth Tompkins designs will be built along Cotton Lane as part of the second stage of the wider £500 milion proposals.

Each practice will deliver a pair of new buildings ’each of different tenures’.

The remaining east wing of the Smithsons’ landmark will not be pulled down until the start of phase 3 of the 1,500 scheme.

Site plan

Site plan

The Blackwall Reach Regeneration Project - phase 2 [buildings C and D]

Last August the Twentieth Century Society failed in its bid to get statutory protection for the Robin Hood Gardens estate. Heritage minister Tracey Crouch granted a second certificate of immunity for the blocks meaning Smithsons’ buidlings estate cannot be considered again for listing until 2020.

In 2008 then architecture minister Margaret Hodge had also refused to list the Smithsons’ buildings, agreeing with English Heritage that the concrete housing estate was not a fit place for people to live in.

Toby Johnson, director at Haworth Tompkins said: ’We respect the legacy of the Smithsons and are all too aware of the intellectual challenge involved in working on Blackwall Reach.

’The new residential buildings should be of the highest design quality and we welcome the opportunity to help achieve this.’

He added: ’The appointment of Metropolitan Workshop and our recent appointment to work with them to bring variety to the design of the next phase of the redevelopment plan demonstrates the partners commitment to design quality and we are looking forward to working with them on this challenging project.’

AKT II and Townshends also join the design team as structural engineers and landscape designers respectively.

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