Robin Hood Gardens

Claudio Divizia, Silvia Crisman, Gabriele Del Buono, Gwladys Martini

BD competition, UK, 2008 (out of competition)
The Robin Hood Gardens - the seminal new brutalist housing by british architects A+P Smithson - are under direct threat of demolition by Tower Hamlets Council, which is trying to get rid of it to free land for speculative building. Still more unbelievably, the minister of Culture Margaret Hodge suggested to take digital pictures of the RHG and then demolish it. We'd rather suggest her to take a digital picture of herself then resign her role as Labour minister of culture! And even English Heritage failed to list the RHG in time. But luckily more than 500 architects from all over the world - lead by Sir Richard Rogers - signed a petition on the Building Design web site to save the RHG. And eventually CABE is backing the RHG as well.

Building Design organised a competition to demonstrate that saving the RHG is a feasible option. Since a large amount of new homes is required by the council, we concentrated all new housing in 9 new skycrapers in two areas north and south of the RHB. These skycrapers are unified by a continuous low-rise base hosting retail and community facilities. It has the shape of two large blobs under the skycrapers, connected by a link through the RHG, which hosts the leisure zone, with pub, clubs, bars and restaurants opening directly towards the Millennium Green in the middle of the RHG. We're sorry for not submitting our complete entry (due to time constraints), but let's hope someone will help saving the RHG with his/her project: as someone pointed out, these are strange times when conservationists are keen to demolish the finest architecture, while modernists have to fight for its conservation.

Concorso BD, UK, 2008 (fuori concorso)