Celebrating the efforts and achievements of our early municipal reformers, whose legacy is unjustly neglected and often unfairly maligned.

[via Municipal Dreams]

Balfron Tower is now one of the stately homes of England – a National Trust attraction no less.  Recently it’s hosted an arts season, a Shakespeare play, and it’s provided live-work accommodation for twenty-five artists since 2008.  And all that, to be honest, makes me sad because once Balfron was simply housing for the local people who needed it – although its size and style and big name architect did always get it special attention.

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[via Municipal Dreams]

In last week’s post, we left Balfron Tower just as its first residents were moving in, among them the Tower’s architect, Ernő Goldfinger, and his wife, Ursula.  That affluent couple moved out after a couple of months.  It’s a cruel irony that Balfron Tower, conceived in the twentieth century as decent housing for ordinary people, will in the twenty-first become the preserve solely of the most wealthy.  How did it come to this?

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[via Municipal Dreams]

A few weeks ago, Keeling House in Bethnal Green featured in BBC2’s Great Interior Design Challenge.  Its presenter Tom Dyckhoff paid due homage to the building’s architecture – a Denys Lasdun brutalist masterpiece – and to its history.  But let’s pay a little more attention to the latter here.  Now privately owned, Keeling House was once a vision of high quality housing for the people.

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[via Municipal Dreams]

You either like or loathe the Park Hill flats. For one thing, they’re hard to ignore – if you arrive by train, you’ll see them immediately, lowering above the steep hill just behind the station. Then there’s their Brutalist look. It’s an ugly term but by strict dictionary definition – a stark style of functionalist architecture characterised by the use of steel and concrete in massive blocks – Park Hill conforms exactly.

For all that, much of the Park Hill story is familiar: desperate need, high ambition, official acclaim, sorry decline – from hero to zero like many of the social housing developments we’ve looked at. But Park Hill’s story deserves a closer look and some revision.

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