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CF Møller appointment spells end for Robin Hood Gardens

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Architect CF Møller has been appointed to the latest phase of the Robin Hood Gardens estate regeneration – a scheme that will spell the end for the Smithsons’ ‘streets in the sky’ development

Plans by Haworth Tompkins and Metropolitan Workshop to flatten and replace the western block of Alison and Peter Smithson’s 1972 Brutalist landmark in east London were approved last year. The phase 2 scheme includes 268 new homes in four new buildings – two by each practice (blocks C1, C2, C3 and D).

Now CF Møller has landed phase 3, which will see the eastern side of the Smithsons’ block demolished to make way for 330 new homes – half of them affordable.

The units will range from one-bedroom flats to five-bedroom maisonettes.

CF Møller was chosen by project backer Swan Housing Association ahead of five other firms - including HTA and Hawkins\Brown - following a competitive process. According to Swan, the practice ‘shone out on the basis of its excellent design ideas for Blackwall Reach and its focus on “inside out design” which puts the residents of the buildings first’.

Swan’s executive director of regeneration and development, Geoff Pearce. said CF Møller ‘was passionate about ensuring we deliver human-scale street scenes and links into the landscape to offset the impact of the busy external environment, which is close to the Blackwall Tunnel.

’As a regeneration team, we felt strongly the CF Møller team would bring a fresh and positive approach to the next phase of Blackwall Reach and are delighted to be able to further develop the positive working relationship which has proved so productive in relation to their work for us on our regeneration of Laindon Shopping Centre.’

CF Møller associate partner Rolf Nielsen added: ‘Our approach to this challenging project is to develop an architectural and placemaking response with the focus on designing the best possible new homes within a challenging location.

‘This complemented Swan’s ambitious ideas for regenerating Blackwall Reach.’

Split into five phases, the Blackwall Reach project has been masterplanned by Metropolitan Workshop and will eventually replace the estate’s 252 homes with 1,575 new units.

Site plan

Site plan

The Blackwall Reach Regeneration Project - phase 3 [buildings E and F]

In 2015, the Twentieth Century Society failed in its bid to get statutory protection for the concrete estate. Heritage minister Tracey Crouch granted a second certificate of immunity for the blocks meaning the Smithsons’ buildings cannot be considered again for listing until 2020.

In 2008 then architecture minister Margaret Hodge also refused to list the estate, agreeing with English Heritage that it was unfit for people to live in.


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