Friday, July 17, 2015

A case study in why socialists should never be allowed to commission social housing

I think we always knew brutalist architecture damaged people psychologically:

Councillor Peter John, (Labour) Leader of Southwark Council, talking about the Heygate Estate:  "...brutalist architecture wasn’t conducive to building a successful economic community. These were hard to let properties. We shouldn’t forget that”.

Recently I was in Westbourne Grove and went to see Ernest Goldfinger's Trellick Tower.  As you can see, the bold dynamic design is just the sort of thing you want on your CV as an architect.  For the unfortunate people who have to live in the flats, the experience is less than sublime (all the crime and social problems you would expect from a community with a collective breakdown induced by the ugliness and inhumanity of their surroundings).

The tall thin design means that even on a summer day the wind howls around the upper floors.  Sickening feelings of vertigo when using the walkways.  And did the architect really specify that shade of muddy-coloured concrete?

This building is a case study in why socialists should never be allowed to commission social housing.  I suppose the intention was to put working class people into an entirely new environment where they would be purged of their bourgeois aspirations and made to conform to an internationalist socialist world outlook.  Instead the socialists just made people unhappy.

The building is much admired by Guardian social affairs writer Hannah Fearn.

The building appeared in the Depeche Mode video for Little 15

It also appeared in the Blur video For Tomorrow:

No comments: