Richard Rogers and Robin Hood Gardens

Robin Hood Gardens is an ugly block of flats and it is an uncomfortable place to live. It is in the East End of London, not too far from where I spent eleven early years of my life in a council house built to the same kind of specifications and bearing the same kind of grimness as Robin Hood Gardens.

Richard Rogers is a famous architect who seems to have persuaded to government to engage him in various projects (such as the ugly millennium dome). Mr Rogers thinks that Robin Hood Gardens is a building that ought to be preserved for architectural reasons. He does not have to live there.

Most days on my way to work I walk past number 13 Mansfield Street. It is a splendid Georgian terraced house on many floors with beautiful external appearance and lovely internal living rooms. It was the home of two very famous architects -John Loughborough Pearson and Edwin Landseer Lutyens. It is visually quite unlike Robin Hood Gardens and offers much more luxurious and sensible accommodation.

Architects are important people; they create great environments for people or ugly, shabby environments for people. These environments can make those who live in them happy or sad, content or discontent.

A good architect is a good arbiter of excellence in buildings. If Mr Rogers thinks Robin Hood Gardens is a good example of architecture that ought to be preserved then I have another reason to doubt his taste and judgment.
I note that Mr Rogers does not live or work in Robin Hood Gardens.

One Response

  1. Of course the real argument is not whether the estate has architectural merit but…….. how much more profit can be made by knocking down and building three times the existing number of apartments….stacked like shoe boxes…….. and with no thought for the residents who will be displaced……..never to return

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