CENTRAL HILL ESTATE IN NATIONWIDE TOP TEN LIST OF BUILDINGS MOST AT RISK
Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace has made the 20th Century Society’s list of Top Ten buildings most ‘at risk by the influential 20th Century Society.
The Society, which exists to safeguard the heritage of architecture and design in Britain from 1914 onwards, applied to Historic England to get the estate ‘listed’ last year but were turned down, say Central Hill and nine other buildings across the country are “in danger of being lost for ever as development pressures, dwindling budgets and ‘short termism’ fuel an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mentality.”
They say: “This high-density low-rise estate is a strong example of the important legacy of progressive public housing created by Lambeth Architect’s Department under Ted Hollamby, demonstrating the use of a variety of unit types to suit different age-groups and family sizes; complex layering of mixed size units;
“the spatial interest of the planning; the exploitation of natural topography;
“the arrangement of blocks to create a genuine community; the provision of private patios and balconies to give residents privacy;
“the simple robust detailing of the architecture, and the integration of community and welfare buildings.
“Lead architect Rosemary Stjernstedt was one of the pioneering female architects of the time.
“The decision to turn down C20 Society’s application for listing places one of London’s most exceptional and progressive post-war housing estates in a hugely vulnerable position.”
20th Century Society director Catherine Croft says: “We do not need to demolish great architecture to allow room for innovation and economic growth. “These are buildings which should enrich our lives and those of future generations,.
“They are in danger of being lost for ever as development pressures, dwindling budgets and ‘short termism’ fuel an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mentality.
“We are witnessing the death of idealism and public spiritedness which underpinned so much of the best architecture of the 20th Century.
“We don’t want buildings to survive as decaying monuments, rather we want to see them brought back into use so they can make a positive impact on the environment.” (Source: 20th Century Society press release)
Historic England said in November: “We have carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of the scheme, and the adjacent Pear Tree House which was built slightly earlier, in 1965, to the designs of Ted Hollamby.
“Central Hill is an interesting example of a post-war housing estate. “It is the largest of the Hollamby-era housing schemes to have a bespoke design and the plan ensures homes enjoy plenty of natural daylight.
“However, the estate wasn’t a pioneer for social housing at the time and much of the success of the scheme is due to the topography, rather than architectural flair.
“In comparison with listed estates, such as those by Camden borough council, there is not the complexity or quality of detail within the architecture to warrant listing at a national level.
“Whilst Central Hill has many merits, it falls short of the very high bar for listing post-war housing estates and will therefore not be added to the National Heritage List for England.”
Further reading: CENTRAL HILL “WE ARE AT RISK OF LOSING AN ARCHITECTURAL GEM” – 20th Century Society’s anger as ‘listing’ bid turned down News From Crystal Palace November 04, 2016
Anger as Central Hill is rejected for listing. Report by Ella Braidwood Architects Journal November 4th 2016