Priory Green Estate 1957 (Berthold Lubetkin & Tecton, Skinner & Bailey) London

The Priory Green Estate, now Priory Heights, is more formally laid out than Spa Green Estate but with more deliberate planning of the spaces between blocks. It is at the edges that the setbacks from the street produce indistinct territories that while intending to let the space of the city flow through the site instead create a distancing effect. In many estates planned along these lines this space tends to heighten the sense of difference between the type of space and architecture and the rest of the city, increasing the sense of otherness and disconnection from the continuous fabric of the city. As with most of Lubetkin’s estates there is care in the lobbies and stairs and originally the estate had formalised gateways that marked the transition from street to estate precinct. These appear to have been entirely erased and the estate is now caged by fences that ring the buildings. The entries are difficult to spot for the uninitiated. This gating, common in council estate renovations, has made the in-between space even worse than it was before giving the estate a defensive and greater sense of retreat from the city. It is no longer possible to shortcut through the estate further isolation the fluid spaces in between the blocks from its surrounding cityscape.

There are four main types of circulation cores: fairly standard vertical cores are found in Kendal and Redington Houses; Foliot, Tomay, Paveley & Grendon Houses have a single stair with a canted vertical wall creating a distinct space of entry and circulation; Wynford House has a sculptural, curved stair that rises at the intersections of the three wings; finally Calshot House has a standard stair leading to galleries.

Digimap Priory Green

  • Top two black & white images from Art & Architecture Courtauld Institute Library
  • Remaining four black & white images from
  • Two views downward of stair from Ben Austwick Twitter
  • Colour image of door and stair from from Adam Khan Architects
  • Following colour images from
  • Street Views courtesy of Google Maps
  • Black & white stair tower view from Simon Phipps
  • Bottom right colour image from Steve Cadman Flickr account
  • Site plan courtesy of OS Digimap

See also:

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Back to 34. Spa Green Estate

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