The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced the selection of nimtim architects with artist Katie Schwab for the Becontree Estate’s public realm commission. Looking to redesign 12 neglected and underused corner plots across the estate, the project reimagines these areas as new civic squares in East London.
On the centenary of the estate, RIBA in collaboration with Create London and London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD) is celebrating Becontree’s past and reimagining its future. Six emerging and mid-career architectural practices were invited to propose a way to make neglected corner plots of the estate more valuable spaces for the community, a brief developed in conversation with the community.
Proposing a way to make the corner plots more deliberate, to increase their social potential, biodiversity, and sustainability, nimtim architects, whose work revolves around people and the stories and ideas they bring to the projects they make together, with artist Katie Schwab won the commission with the proposal entitled “Squaring the Corners”.
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Becontree, the largest council estate in Britain, was built 100 years ago. Conceived part of the Garden City movement, it originally had generous green amenity spaces at the ends of terraces; the ‘corner plots’. These large front and back gardens, parks, and undefined green amenity spaces were leftover from dividing up farmland into plots for homes.
Nimtim architects with artist Katie Schwab proposed to “reorganize Becontree’s neglected corner plots as new civic squares for people to meet, rest, grow and play – and to enhance the experience of walking through the estate, of stopping and looking, and being outdoors”. The design inspired by geometries, colors, and materials, invites residents to take ownership of the squares.
Moreover, other shortlisted practices and proposals were:
- Okra – Becontree Blooms
- RESOLVECollective – Becontree Community Ecologies
- Studio Aki with Hayhurst & Co –The Hundred Trail: Celebrating Becontree’s Histories
- Studio Gil with Tisserin Engineers – An Urban Playground
In addition to the commission, part of four special projects for the centenary of the Becontree Estate, RIBA is also organizing an exhibition project with artist Verity-Jane Keefe; a display of newly commissioned estate photography by Kalpesh Lahitgra and a schools program with Mayesbrook Park School and social enterprise, POoR Collective.
Info Via RIBA.