It has been reported that London's Robin Hood Gardens housing estate, which was thought to be finally condemned in March 2012, has re-entered a state of flux due to governmental indecision. The former UK Culture Secretary, Andy Burnham, gave the housing scheme an immunity from listing certificate in 2009, meaning that no concerned party could bid for it to gain protected status under British law. This certificate, designed to ensure that the buildings would be swiftly demolished, has now expired. This has led the Twentieth Century Society (C20) to launch a new bid for the estate to be both saved and protected.
In a report, the Twentieth Century Society "believe that none of the reasons given for not listing Robin Hood Gardens is convincing or properly evidenced according to listing criteria, and that the previous decisions not to list were unsound." The report also suggests that English Heritage - the body responsible for ensuring the safekeeping of the UK's architecturally significant built assets - used hyperbole when arguing that the estate was in serious decay, in spite of the fact that there has been no maintenance work undertaken since the year 2000 when its future was cast into doubt. In response to C20's report, English Heritage have stated that they "are currently in the process of considering all consultation responses before making [a] recommendation to the [British] Secretary of State" as to whether it will the estate will regain immunity.
The seminal residential scheme, designed by British architects Alison and Peter Smithson, was completed in 1972. Famous for its 'streets in the sky', Robin Hood Gardens has become a Brutalist icon in recent years, with a number of high-ranking architects having raised their voices in support of its protection. In response to this fresh bid, Richard Rogers stated: "I can only say 'three cheers'." According to the Architects' Journal, he has said that "Robin Hood Gardens is one of a handful of great low-cost housing estates. It was a world-shaking building but it’s been looked after appallingly. Whatever anyone says, I don’t know of better modern architects than the Smithsons: they were certainly outstanding."
Story via Architects' Journal.