London/Loenen a/d Vecht
Wickham van Eyck architects
UK - 46 St. Mary’s, St. Mary’s Terrace, London W2 1SH UK
Tel: +44 (0)20 7402 0669
Ned. - Dorpstraat 44, Loenen a/d Vecht the Netherlands
Mail Ned. - PO Box 55 - 3632 ZS, Loenen a/d Vecht the Netherlands.
It is quite puzzling to have witnessed in recent years the defeat of those who should have done much, much, more to save Robin Hood Gardens.
Think of it; with absolutely no effective movement on finding a resolution to the chronic housing problem in the UK, it is sad, bordering on the criminal, to see the current players in the architectural profession remain so lacking in influence and any strong action when protesting the loss of the many very good and workable housing buildings in the big cities many of which, including Robin Hood gardens, with a little imagination could certainly be reused.
Robin Hood Gardens is still there, just, and its retention should be used to make a strong point about the extreme shortage of affordable housing. Retention and restoration of this well built housing would be quicker, less costly than building anew. The present government should be made to squeal when it is pointed out how wasteful it would be to destroy perfectly viable housing stock. Needless to say the site of Robin Hood Gardens could also stand a substantial planning gain in addition to restoring the existing structures.
The replacement scheme by Metropolitan Workshop Ltd is of such poor quality it is hardly worth speaking about except to say it achieves a mediocracy that would be hard to compete with.
I tried on several occasions to contact Simon Smithson to see if there was anything that could breath some new life into saving his parents best and seminal housing project, but without success.
I did however meet one of his sisters and a nephew (also an architect) in Rotterdam recently and agreed with them that something should and could be done by those who understand and have influence on these issues.
Maybe its now time to abandon architecture and architecture schools altogether and let the building industry and future governments continue their blind, unfortunate and quite possibly corrupt goings on within local authorities like Tower Hamlets. who are out to destroy the environment.
Does any one in the UK understand exactly how much damage the mendacious, cheating opportunist - Boris Johnson - caused while he spent eight years as the Mayor of London doing very little other than making a lot of ineffective noise and raising his own profile when his job was to keep the UK’s capital abreast of events, safe and appropriately prepared for all of those who have a right to live and are needed in the city.
Don’t ask me about Johnson, just read Steve Hilton who has said, “I honestly struggle to think of what his (Johnson‘s) legacy is.” Hilton was Cameron’s former director of strategy and has remained close to both Cameron and his chancellor.
The truth is amongst others in power, Johnson left London in a total mess with a massive £20+ billion housing deficit, the biggest since 1945, which will take many, many, years to correct. And worse, he, in doing so, did nothing to house those people without whom London and other cities would come to a complete standstill.
I wonder how long it will be before the rich and powerful will decide housing ghetto standards for the poor will be aligned with those of penal institutions.