HOW TWO BRI­TISH BRUTES EM­BRACED A NEW ERA

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Park Hill, Sh­effield

De­signed in the early 1960s by ar­chi­tects Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith (un­der the su­per­vi­sion of Lewis Womer­s­ley, Sh­effield’s city ar­chi­tect), this 13-storey Bru­tal­ist de­vel­op­ment started as an as­pi­ra­tional home for coun­cil ten­ants but turned into a sym­bol of so­cial de­cay. It re­mained this way un­til ar­chi­tects Hawkins/Brown and Stu­dio Egret West com­pleted a re­fur­bish­ment that was short­listed for Bri­tain’s Stir­ling Prize for ar­chi­tec­ture in 2013. The ar­chi­tects ex­panded the flats into the ex­ter­nal walk­ways, dou­bled the size of win­dows, and pep­pered the ex­te­rior with brightly coloured pan­els. But the de­vel­op­ers also moved out most of the coun­cil ten­ants in or­der to sell the ma­jor­ity of the apart­ments to pri­vate own­ers, lead­ing to ac­cu­sa­tions of “class cleans­ing” (30 per­cent of the build­ing re­mains so­cial hous­ing). Oth­ers thought the coun­cil was sim­ply be­ing smart by sell­ing off a build­ing that wasn’t work­ing for them and rein­vest­ing the money in other coun­cil hous­ing.

Trel­lick Tower, Lon­don

This 31-storey icon of Bru­tal­ism in Lon­don’s Not­ting Hill was de­signed in the late 1960s by Erno Goldfin­ger to re­place Vic­to­rian so­cial hous­ing. It quickly be­came the lo­cus of a cock­tail of so­cial prob­lems – crime, van­dal­ism, pros­ti­tu­tion and drug-ped­dling – that led to it be­ing la­belled as “The Tower of Ter­ror” (it is also thought to be the build­ing that in­spired JG Bal­lard’s 1975 book High Rise). In the 1980s, in the wake of right-to-buy schemes that al­lowed sev­eral flats to be pur­chased by their res­i­dents, a res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tion was es­tab­lished that im­proved se­cu­rity there and made other im­prove­ments. The build­ing is now a Cat­e­gory 2 listed struc­ture, and is still pre­dom­i­nantly oc­cu­pied by so­cial hous­ing ten­ants.

5 & 6. The ex­ten­sive re­fur­bish­ment of Park Hill, in Sh­effield, was short­listed for Bri­tain’s Stir­ling Prize for ar­chi­tec­ture in 2013. 7. Trel­lick Tower in Lon­don’s Not­ting Hill was built in the 1960s and is now a Cat­e­gory 2 listed struc­ture.

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