Robin Hood Gardens robbed of Brutalist legacy as new face of estate is unveiled

Four new buildings at Blackwall Reach
Unveiled: the four towers are designed by two different architects. Photograph: Swan Group

The first images of the new Robin Hood Gardens Estate have been released.

The famous Brutalist-era landmark is soon to be bulldozed to make way for a new housing development in Poplar.

Housebuilder Swan has submitted a planning application for the second phase of its £500m regeneration project.

The latest plans include an artist’s impression of four buildings containing 268 flats, which are to surround the grassy mound being retained from the estate.

The grassy mound being retained at Robin Hood Gardens
Retained: the mound will be the only reminder of the previous estate. Photograph: Swan Group

Joint architects Metropolitan Workshops and Haworth Tompkins have designed two buildings each.

Geoff Pearce, Executive Director of Regeneration and Development at Swan, said: “Metropolitan Workshop and Hayworth Tompkins were selected as joint architects for the next phase of Blackwall Reach because of their track record of delivering high quality urban design and architecture in residential and mixed use projects.

“We believe their designs complement each other and show commitment to the art of making beautiful, sustainable buildings.

“We think that their designs provide an inspired and deliverable redevelopment plan for the next phase of the regeneration of Blackwall Reach.”

Street view of the new buildings
Regeneration: street view of the new buildings. Photograph: Swan Group

The regeneration project has come under immense criticism from noted architect Lord Richard Rogers, who failed in a last-ditch attempt to have the plans scrapped.

Lord Rogers has previously described Robin Hood Gardens Estate as “the most important social housing development from the post-war era in Britain”.

Haworth Tompkins director Toby Johnson said: “We respect the legacy of the Smithsons and have been all too aware of the intellectual challenge involved in working on Blackwall Reach.

“However, we have worked closely with Metropolitan Workshop and Swan Housing to deliver a scheme that will preserve and enhance the open space and the heart of the estate, improve the relationship the new buildings make to the surrounding streets and provide better homes for the existing residents of the estate, as well as additional homes to meet the demand in this fast-changing part of London.

“We think these proposals will improve the quality of life for those living on and near the estate and support the wider regeneration of Blackwall Reach.”

Tower Hamlets Council says its consultation showed 80 per cent of respondents support the plans.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Redevelopment was the overwhelming preference of the local community.”

  1. Andrew weaving on Friday 5 August 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Bland bland and bland
    Why can’t they restore the existing
    Someone has downy a fortune restoring Poplar baths almost next door and what and maxing job they have done
    I suppose it’s too late now
    What a great shame
    I also wonder why Tweedhouse wasn’t saved
    It’s now another monstrosity of the 21st century!

  2. Maris on Friday 5 August 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Absolutely. I took a lot of photos of Tweedhouse (or whatever it was called) before it was destroyed. I wonder who is getting the brown envelopes.


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