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17 March 2012 | News | By: Dean Nicholas

Robin Hood Gardens Set For Demolition

Robin Hood Gardens Set For Demolition

The fate of Robin Hood Gardens, a housing estate in Poplar, was sealed this week when Tower Hamlets council's Strategic Development Committee rubber-stamped its demolition.

Opened in 1972, the estate, formed of two long concrete blocks designed by husband and wife team Alison and Peter Smithson (also responsible for the Economist building in Piccadilly) had become a cause célèbre in recent years, ever since tearing it down was first proposed in 2008. Architects Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers, and former Guardian architecture critic Jonathan Glancey, joined a campaign by Building Design magazine to save the estate, and it was the subject of an exhibition. However, the decision not to award it listed status sounded the death knell.

For all its Brutalist charm and rigid adherence to the now-outmoded 'streets in the sky' concept, Robin Hood Gardens was an easy target for those who call architects hypocrites eager to champion crumbling estates they wouldn't dare live in themselves. Many of the current residents can't wait to be rid of it: a consultation in 2008 found that over 75% supported its demolition.

Artist's impression of Blackwall Reach

The site will become part of the wider Blackwall Reach development, part of which can be seen in the above design; it will have 1,000 private flats and 700 earmarked for council residents.

Photo of Robin Hood Gardens by / Neil Clasper

Dean Nicholas

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Wow, the top pic makes it look very sci-fi. Like a giant collection scoop from an asteroid-mining vessel, or something. (Note to self: get some better cultural references.)

Kollagen Intensiv

There's a vogue amongst the w-anchor classes to go around saving
"post-war buildings of architectural interest". Saving them by making
them grade 2 and 1 listed buildings. 

Jean-Michel Genre

It's a very eye-catching building. I guess if it has been in a more upmarket area, it could have become another Trelick Tower. Looking at the anonymous rubbish they're building in its wake, I think it's a pity more couldn't be done.


I made a short film based on interviews with the residents a couple of months ago:


it's a shame it would fit perfectly for a bunch of sci-fi movies...

Truth Teller

Has nobody noticed (no surprise as it's Tower Hamlets..an extremist Islamic enclave)  the artists impression of the new development is almost entirely populated buy Muslims!
Including numerous headscarf wearing women.
Look...they are not even trying to hide the future of our country anymore.


hmmm, you should check your sources. actually 75% of the people that live there said that they DO NOT wanted to leave and that it was clear that this was just being fone for ECONOMIC reasons. that area is becoming TOO VALUABLE for having social housing... it's just the pressure of the construction lobby working.


Are they pulling down the houses at the front too? I used to live there.