Article published : Friday, May 22nd, 2020 8:18 am
'A Kafkaesque nightmare': the survival guide helping condemned estates beat the bulldozers It has been called 'one of the finest council estates in the country'. So why is Cressingham Gardens facing demolition? We report on the free book helping communities fight backNestled in the corner of Brockwell Park, Cressingham Gardens housing estate feels like an extension of the rolling municipal greenery. The low-rise fingers of housing weave their way around clusters of mature trees, framing pedestrian paths flanked by lush patio gardens. Slightly higher blocks to the west mask noise from the main road, creating an oasis of calm where a village green faces a community hall rotunda, designed with "fairground overtones of merry-go-rounds and bandstands", as a 1979 issue of the Architectural Review put it.Cressingham Gardens is, in the words of council housing expert John Boughton, author of Municipal Dreams, "one of the finest council estates in the country". The London scheme was designed in the late 1960s by a team of Lambeth Council architects led by Ted Hollamby, a pioneer of high-density low-rise housing who championed a move away from tower blocks. Hollamby wanted his developments "to create a sense of smallness inside the bigness" of the city, and to have "the kind of atmosphere in which people did not feel all herded together". His philosophy is embodied in the layout of Cressingham Gardens, with its village scale and neighbourly feel, encouraged by front doors facing each other and ample space for children to play in the patchwork of lanes and wooded areas, a particular boon in these times of being trapped at home.Despite all this, Lambeth Council wants to knock the estate down. Continue reading...
Author : Oliver Wainwright