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In pictures: Bulldozing of Smithsons’ Robin Hood Gardens begins


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.

The scheme is split into five phases and will eventually replace the estate’s 252 homes with 1,575 new units. Other architects working on the redevelopment include Haworth Tompkins and CF Møller

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

Robin Hood Gardens (western block) 


Readers' comments (3)

  • Does anyone on the AJ actually know what a bulldozer looks like?

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  • "At the time, then architecture minister Margaret Hodge concurred with Historic England that it was unfit for people to live in."

    Nothing else, I presume, on Dame Margaret's list of places "unfit for people to live in" which we could therefore usefully turn at vast expense into landfill?? If not, let's just enjoy rearranging the deckchairs as we steam on.

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  • de-construction workers really

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