New Exhibition at Harvard GSD Focuses on Robin Hood Gardens by Alison and Peter Smithson

New Exhibition at Harvard GSD Focuses on Robin Hood Gardens by Alison and Peter Smithson

A Poetry of the Ordinary: Life in Alison and Peter Smithson's Robin Hood Gardens, 1972

Set within the wider framework of “Living Anatomy: an Exhibition about Housing,” currently on view at Harvard Graduate School of Design, this exhibition focuses on ‘Robin Hood Gardens’ - Alison and Peter Smithson’s housing project in East London, completed in 1972. Threatened with demolition yet again, despite an ongoing campaign that still hopes to secure its preservation, Robin Hood Gardens stands today with broken windows, vandalized corridors, crippling facades, and a fractured public reputation. While deteriorating with neglect barely 50 years after its completion, this project’s architecture is still striking in its sense of livelihood and innovation.

Consisting of 213 apartments organized in two long, curved building blocks with a central, topographically-morphed green space between them, Robin Hood Gardens was planned with an ambition for human interaction and association. Drawing on original materials from the Alison and Peter Smithson Archive, part of the Special Collections of the Frances Loeb Library, the detailed drawings, documents, and photographs shown here highlight the social experimentalism that stands at the base of this influential project. Never intended to be a photogenic exemplar of modern housing, Robin Hood Gardens remains a provocative and brave new form, a place with an extraordinary character that is capable of offering its residents an ordinarily poetic life.

"A Poetry of the Ordinary" presents archival photos and documents, as well as contemporary photographs by Aviad Bar Ness and Addison Godel.

Daniel V. Rauchwerger (MDes ‘15)

Exhibition Research and Design:
Daniel V. Rauchwerger and Patrick Herron (M.Arch ‘16)

Frances Loeb Library:
Ann Whiteside, Frances Loeb Library Director
Inés Zalduendo, Special Collections Archivist & Reference Librarian
Irina Gorstein, Conservator Alix Reiskind, Digital Initiatives Librarian

Special thanks to Matthew Gin, PhD Candidate

Department of Exhibitions and Communications:
Dan Borelli (MDes ‘12), David Zimmerman-Stuart, Travis Dagenais

  • Title

    New Exhibition at Harvard GSD focuses on Robin Hood Gardens by A+P Smithson
  • Organizers

  • From

    September 10, 2015 04:59 PM
  • Until

    November 15, 2015 04:59 PM
  • Venue

    Frances Loeb Library, Gund Hall
  • Address

    48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA, USA

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Cite: "New Exhibition at Harvard GSD Focuses on Robin Hood Gardens by Alison and Peter Smithson" 14 Sep 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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