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At Swan, we are proud to be delivering the £300m regeneration of Blackwall Reach with our Development Partners London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the Mayor of London. This project will see the demolition of Robin Hood Gardens as part of a wider scheme which will increase the number of homes from 252 to over 1,500, of which 679 will be affordable high-quality homes for social rent and shared ownership.
We and our Development Partners were delighted to work with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A), muf architecture/art, Hills Partnership and North East Demolition on this project to preserve a piece of Robin Hood Gardens as part of the V&A's collection.
The V&A has acquired a three-storey section of Robin Hood Gardens, comprising both exterior facades and interiors of a maisonette flat. The fragment is 8.8 metres high, 5.5 metres wide and 8 metres deep. Robin Hood Gardens is an internationally recognised work of Brutalist architecture completed in 1972, designed by Alison (1928 -1993) and Peter Smithson (1923 - 2003).
Neil Baron, Project Director for Blackwall Reach at Swan commented:
"At Swan we recognise the acute housing need across East London, which is why we are delighted to be working with our partners to bring over 1,500 new homes to Blackwall Reach and increasing the number of social rented and shared ownership homes to over 670 homes. However, we also acknowledge the importance of cataloguing and celebrating the diverse and vibrant architecture of the Capital and the history of the communities that live in these buildings. That is why we are delighted to have worked with our partners at the V&A, Tower Hamlets, The Mayor of London, muf architecture / art, Hills Construction and Northeast Demolition to facilitate the acquisition of these elements from Robin Hood Gardens for the V&A. Through these close working partnerships, we have been able to ensure that a part of Robin Hood Gardens will remain in a public collection for future generations."
Dr Neil Bingham, Curator of Contemporary Architectural Collections, commented:
''Robin Hood Gardens is an internationally recognised building by Alison and Peter Smithson, the protagonists and intellectual leaders of the Brutalist movement. When their social housing project was officially condemned and demolition was imminent Liza Fior (Partner of muf architecture/art), who was at the end of her year-long V&A/Mellon residency, proposed that the Museum should collect a fragment of the building, and worked with us to help secure it. The V&A's acquisition of a maisonette apartment, complete with front and back facades, will motivate new thinking and research into this highly experimental period of British architectural and urban history.'
Blackwall Reach is transforming a key area of Tower Hamlets and will deliver over 1,500 homes, new community facilities, commercial units, an improved central park and a replacement mosque, while creating training and employment opportunities for residents in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.