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Phase 2 planning bid to replace Poplar's 1970s Robin Hood Gardens housing estate

PUBLISHED: 17:11 05 August 2016 | UPDATED: 17:16 05 August 2016

Concrete fortress... old Robin Hood Gardens estate

Concrete fortress... old Robin Hood Gardens estate

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A planning application to help rid of 'brutalist' 1970s housing estate architecture London's deprived East End has been submitted this week to the local authority.

Four distict 'quarters' of Blackwall Reach second phase [Picture Plane]Four distict 'quarters' of Blackwall Reach second phase [Picture Plane]

Proposals for the next stage of Poplar’s massive Blackwall Reach redevelopment to replace the sprawling once-controversial Robin Hood estate have been lodged at Tower Hamlets council by Swan Housing developers.

It follows public consultations to get things right after the scheme first mooted in 2008 was locked in years of fierce debate between tenants and architects over whether the run-down ex-council estate should be knocked down at all or spruced up.

The battle lines were over the Smithson concrete architecture, which leading architects argued should be preserved.

But the decision to tear the Robin Hood estate down was made in 2011.

What Poplar's 1970s Robin Hood Gardens estate was likeWhat Poplar's 1970s Robin Hood Gardens estate was like

Now two leading architect practices, Metropolitan Workshop and Haworth Tompkins, have been brought for the second phase of redevelopment to see what they make of it.

The first thing was to get rid of the “fortress” perimeter separating the estate from the neighbourhood next to the A12 Blackwall Tunnel.

“We respect the legacy of the Smithsons and are all too aware of the challenge involved,” Haworth Tompkins’ director Toby Johnson said.

“This scheme preserves the open space at the heart of the estate—but also improves the relationship to the surrounding streets.”

Blackwall Reach rejuvenation retains park and mound from old Robin Hood Gardens estate [Picture Plane]Blackwall Reach rejuvenation retains park and mound from old Robin Hood Gardens estate [Picture Plane]

The second phase for 268 flats now lodged with the council, however, retains the original centrepiece park and mound in its entirety.

The four new blocks of flats envisaged in this second phase share “a common architectural language”, although different in style from one another to create distinct ‘quarters’ from one another.

It is part of a larger regeneration project replacing 252 original 1970s flats with 1,575 eco-friendly homes, commercial premises and community facilities to be completed in the next decade.

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