Cook's Camden: The Making of Modern Housing

The housing projects built in Camden in the 1960s and 1970s when Sydney Cook was borough architect are widely regarded as the most important urban housing built in the UK in the past 100 years. Cook recruited some of the brightest talent available in London at the time and the schemes – which included Alexandra Road, Branch Hill, Fleet Road, Highgate New Town and Maiden Lane – set out a model of housing that continues to command interest and admiration from architects to this day.

The book is the first to provide a comprehensive study of the work of recent RIBA Royal Gold Medal winner Neave Brown, as well as schemes by Benson & Forsyth, Peter Tábori, Colquhoun & Miller, Edward Cullinan and Farrell Grimshaw.

The Camden projects represented a new type of urban housing based on a return to streets with front doors. In place of tower blocks, the Camden architects showed how the required densities could be achieved without building high, creating a new kind of urbanism that integrated with, rather than broke from, its cultural and physical context.

This book examines how Cook and his team created this new kind of housing, what it comprised, and what lessons it offers for today. New colour photographs combine with original black and white photography to give a fascinating 'then and now' portrayal not just of the buildings but also of the homes within and the people who live there.

  • Chapter 1 Introduction
  • Chapter 2 Sydney Cook at Camden: geared to producing idea, with the emphasis on youth
  • Chapter 3 Developing a new format for urban housing: Neave Brown and the design of Fleet Road
  • Chapter 4 Creating a piece of city: Neave Brown and the design of Alexandra Road
  • Chapter 5 A city on a hill: Peter Tábori at Highgate New town
  • Chapter 6 Class war in Hampstead: the battle of Branch Hill
  • Chapter 7 The poetics of housing: Benson and Forsyth
  • Chapter 8 Gospel Oak: from Powell & Moya to Benson and Forsyth
  • Chapter 9 Only connect: Benson and Forsyth at Maiden Lane
  • Chapter 10 Urban densitry: Edward Cullinan Architects
  • Chapter 11 Politics versus architecture: the Alexandra Road public enquiry of 1979 - 81
  • Chapter 12 Conclusion: Cook's Camden today
  • Appendix 1 'Sydney Cook as I knew him' recollections by Neave Brown, Frank Dobson, John Green, Martin Morton and Peter Tábori
  • Appendix 2 Neave Brown, 'the form of housing' (1967)
  • Appendix 3 cook's Camden A-Z
  • Cook's Camden Map

  • Title

    Cook's Camden: The Making of Modern Housing
  • Author

    Mark Swenarton
  • Publisher

    Lund Humphries
  • Publication year

  • Binding

  • Language


Cook's Camden: The Making of Modern Housing

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Cite: "Cook's Camden: The Making of Modern Housing" 22 Aug 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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