33. Churchill Gardens Estate 1946-62 (Powell & Moya) London

There are too many building types and sequence types to get into specifics about this project. The main contribution is variety – contrast to Park Hill Sheffield – and the effort put into the entry for each type. There is close attention paid to circulation and arrival spaces throughout the estate with few bad examples. Many of the vertical circulation spaces are housed in detached ‘towers’. This is the most inventive contribution provided by this example, though a less emphatic version of this appears in Kent House (1935). These ‘towers’ are emphasised in this estate and prefigures the more detached (spatially and conceptually) circulation elements of Lasdun’s cluster blocks and Goldfinger’s Trellick and Balfron Towers. When not detached vertical circulation elements act as a hinge between blocks (e.g. Lowther House). Even where the employment of stairs is there for fire egress more than day-to-day use they are highlighted as significant symbolic elements within the scheme. Some of the entries also prefigure Lubetkin’s use of sculptural canopies to mark entries into blocks. The level of inventiveness across such a large estate is rare. This could be due to the length of the build, taking 16 years, and the changes to economic and programmatic demands over this period. The result avoids the common mechanical sterility and anonymity of large estates.

Chronology note: This project is listed based on start of construction rather than completion.

Schema

  • various; detached vertical circulation towers, liberal use of glazing to maintain transparency and visual connection to streets; large canopies to mark entries; many entries open to paths and streets; gallery access used in most blocks (varying lengths)

Unit identity

  • Generally weak; repeated structural systems and scale of the estate likely prevented modelling and expression of individual units. Identity of individual blocks and their entries is strong.

Screenshot Housing Entry

See also:

Previous Entry 32. Palace Gate

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