Dorset Estate 1957 (Skinner, Bailey & Lubetkin) London

The Dorset Estate continues the formal approach to layouts started at Priory Green. The plan introduces the ‘Y’ block combined with shorter slab blocks while heightening the sense of free-floating blocks in space. The connections to the surrounding context and street layout is rather abstract and geometrical, that is, mostly evident in plan. But as with Lubetkin’s other estates the lobbies and stairs provide a sense of excitement and dignity. The stairs are more sculptural and baroque than before but the vertical cores are fairly standard. The approach to the buildings from the surrounding city is indistinct. As a transition from the city to the front door this is perhaps Lubetkin’s weakest project featuring too many of the ambiguous and poorly defined exterior spaces typical of slab and point block planning. Access to flats is from open air galleries. The main feature of this estate is that the galleries are no longer expressed on the exterior but treated as part of the volume of the building; they are treated like interior spaces and provide a sense of circulating within the mass of the block.

Sivill House, a point block, was added to the estate in 1962.

See also:

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