Sir Edwin Lutyens. Page Street. London
When we did our Mini Click talk in August we were asked whether we knew of any successful Social Housing schemes?
So since then i have been researching various schemes where the design and housing are still being used successfully.
One scheme is Sir Edwin Lutyens Grosvenor Estate on Page Street in London. The design of the housing has a distinctive chequerboard appearance, L-shaped communal courtyards and gallery access.
The architecture, although varied in its detailing, is consistent in height, scale and massing, giving the blocks a strong sense of group value. The estates remain largely unaltered demonstrating the original quality of workmanship and materials.
“Grosvenor is an early example of the use of the type of access-gallery building that became one of the hallmarks of English social housing of the post-WWII years. This was an idea promoted by the Alison and Peter Smithson in their Golden Lane competition project of the 1950’s as “streets-in-the-air”, a concept to recreate the social and spatial qualities of a village street in the access system of hi-rise residential buildings. Lutyens’ buildings are only 5 & 6-floors high so the contained space of the courtyard is visible from the open gallery. Also, when the gallery occurs at every floor, there are fewer dwellings per gallery and, therefore, this space seems to belong more to each individual dwelling. The gallery type, however, was more often used as a skip-stop section type where buildings contained a combination of flats and maisonettes. Here the gallery is used by many people and becomes much less the domain of the individual apartment. The economy version of the gallery type that came to so widely used in the UK, however, housing estates like Park Hill in Sheffield (that was the built version of the Smithson Golden Lane project), the skip-stop slabs at Roehampton Estate in London, or many other examples of English social housing of the 1960’s and 1970’s, usually had neither the spatial quality nor the social amenities of Lutyens’ design.”
(Jones, Edward & Chriustopher Woodward, A Guide To The Archigecture of London, Van Nostrand, Reinhold, N.Y., 1983, pp. 321.)