The most recent bid to grant listing status to the Brutalist Robin Hood Gardens estate in east London has failed and the local MP has named for it to be “brought down ASAP”.
Public entire body Historic England – which administers and maintains the register of England’s listed buildings – has announced that the Uk government will not checklist the historic 1970s complex created by architects Alison and Peter Smithson.
This is in spite of the revived campaign by heritage organisation the Twentieth Century Society, which is supported by architects such as Richard Rogers.
Labour politician Jim Fitzpatrick, the elected member of parliament for Poplar and Limehouse, informed Dezeen that the estate’s historical significance is “nonsense”.
“We have two buildings from the exact same time period and style in Glenkerry and Balfron, and in a lot better condition,” Fitzpatrick explained. “Robin Hood Gardens is properly previous its demolition date, and need to be brought down ASAP in my see.”
Robin Hood Gardens was granted a five-12 months immunity from heritage listing in 2009 that means that the council was totally free to demolish the complex. Although demolition was scheduled it did not consider area, so at the finish of the 5-12 months period the Twentieth Century Society revived its original campaign, which had acquired support from architects like Robert Venturi, Zaha Hadid and Toyo Ito.
Historic England has now stated that the estate “does not make the grade” for listed status and has made a recommendation for a new certificate of immunity.
Historic England’s head of designation Emily Gee commented: “We assessed the complicated for listing in 2008 and our advice was topic to comprehensive scrutiny and assessment. No new info has come to light that would cause us to revise our assessment, so we stand by our see that Robin Hood Gardens does not meet the quite higher threshold for listing.”
“The complicated does not equal the architectural achievement of other 20th-century estates which have been listed, this kind of as the Barbican and Brunswick Centre in London, and Park Hill in Sheffield.
“Listing is extremely selective and selections should be made objectively. While respecting the opinions of campaigners, after cautious evaluation of all the points acquired by the consultees, we recommended when once again that Robin Hood Gardens does not make the grade.”
Relevant story: Richard Rogers calls for architects to aid save “outstanding” Robin Hood Gardens
The Twentieth Century Society’s Henrietta Billings has described the choice as “incredibly disappointing”.
“We were hoping the listing of the estate would carry a new, much more rigorous appreciation and a fresh look at the architecture – it truly is why we’re really keen to see it listed,” Billings told Dezeen.
“The architecture has been misunderstood and underneath appreciated, and also unfairly maligned due to maintenance troubles and underinvestment above a prolonged time period of time. This has extra to the perception that it’s the fault of the architecture rather than other troubles about items like upkeep and standard upkeep.”
“This is the 2nd time we’ve asked to realize the decision and how they have arrived at the selection not to list, and what skilled guidance they used to reach that conclusion,” she added.
Based on the Brutalist notion of “streets in the sky”, the 213-apartment estate was finished in 1972. Architects Alison and Peter Smithson had previously established themselves as crucial protagonists of “New Brutalism”, with projects like the Economist Building in Piccadilly and Smithdon Large College in Hunstanton, Norfolk.
Richard Rogers lately described the Robin Hood Gardens as post-war Britain’s “most crucial” social housing development, adding that the case for listing is “more powerful than ever”.
In an open letter co-signed by the Smithson’s son and Rogers’ colleague Simon Smithson, he wrote: “The buildings, which supply generously sized flats that could be refurbished, are of excellent architectural quality and considerable historic curiosity, and public appreciation and understanding of the worth of Modernist architecture has grown more than the previous five years, producing the case for listing stronger than ever.”
Related story: Last-ditch bid launched to conserve Robin Hood Gardens from demolition
“Last time listing was regarded the views of the architectural local community had been ignored but we believe there is now a genuine chance of conserving the constructing for posterity but only if the minister hears, very first hand, the views of the profession on the architectural merits of these exceptional buildings.”
House developer Swan is arranging new housing to substitute Robin Hood Gardens, with the backing of Tower Hamlets council.
The Twentieth Century Society has issued a Freedom of Details request in a bid to completely reveal the processes behind the determination. Going forward, the organisation will “have to determine regardless of whether we want to challenge or inquire for a review,” Henrietta Billings told Dezeen.
A spokesperson for the Uk government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport explained: “[Historic England] had been clear it did not meet specifications for listing” but declined to comment more. Government heritage minister Tracey Crouch was unavailable for comment.
Photography is by Luke Hayes.