Demolition Threat: Robin Hood Gardens
by Alison and Peter Smithson, Poplar, London, United Kingdom 1972
The Robin Hood Gardens (Poplar, London), a post-war housing complex, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson and dating back to 1972, is facing an eminent complete destruction. Being one of the most important social post-war housing projects of Britain, it will be a great loss to erase an outstanding example of architectural quality with great historic interest.
It is urgent to act before the complete demolition of this project. For this reason, docomomo International would like to encourage everyone to join the efforts of docomomo UK and worlwide experts in the struggle of preserving this invaluable housing complex.
Ana Tostões, Chair o docomomo International, addressed a letter to Mrs. Tracey Crouch, United Kingdom Government Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, in order to call the attention of authorities to the necessity of safeguarding and preserving the complex for posterity.
“You may be aware that Robin Hood Gardens, designed by Alison and Peter Smithson is now under final consideration for heritage protection by Historic England and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This constitutes the very last chance for this internationally significant building to be saved for posterity – should we not succeed, demolition is proposed before December 2016.
We would be very pleased if international docomomo chapters around the world would add their support by sending a short message in support of preserving Robin Hood Gardens directly to the UK government minister responsible for the decision, Tracey Crouch. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We need to be quick as a decision is imminent. So please write in the next two weeks to ensure your view is counted.”
Member of docomomo Working Party UK
"(...) The process of elimination of pathological post-war housing blocks involves also the segregation of population and the elimination of existing established social networks with a memory and a social conscience. (...) The recycling of modern heritage, the social housing blocks built in the 1960s and 1970s represent a high potential to achieve the demands of a sustainable city (...)"
MELON, Aranzazu, "Robin Hood Gardens and the Rehabilitation of Post-War Mass Housing in London" indocomomo Journal, no. 51. Lisboa: docomomo International, 2014 (download the docomomo Journal essay about the Robin Hood Gardens by Aranzazu Melon in the link below).