Construction workers have begun demolition of the western block of Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens estate in east London
The 1972 Brutalist landmark is being demolished to make way for the Blackwall Reach regeneration project, which was masterplanned by HCL for Swan Housing and subsequently reviewed by Metropolitan Workshop.
In September a spokesperson for Swan Housing Association said these residents would not be moved out until 2020.
Last month, the V&A announced it would acquire a three-storey section of Robin Hood Gardens – an 8.8m-high, 5.5m-wide and 8m-deep slice – saying it was an ‘important piece of Brutalism, worth preserving for future generations’.
The V&A’s announcement received a mixed reaction, with critics saying that it should have intervened earlier and backed a 2008 Building Design magazine-led campaign to list the estate.
At the time, then architecture minister Margaret Hodge concurred with Historic England that it was unfit for people to live in.
Simon Smithson, a partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and son of the estate’s architects, said that the then V&A director Mark Jones ‘should have known better’ after refusing to sign the petition in 2008.
Source: Anthony Coleman