Robin Hood Gardens Estate, Poplar, London

Alison and Peter Smithson
Date Built
Cotton Street and Poplar High Street
The Robin Hood Gardens Estate occupies a site beside Poplar High Street, not far from the northern entrance to the Blackwall Tunnel.  Completed in 1972 but now scheduled for demolition, the twin concrete blocks face each other across an inner "garden". 

Despite the efforts of some significant people, including apparently Richard Rogers and Zahad Hadid, English Heritage resisted all efforts to list the buildings and the process of demolition was expected to begin in 2013.  However, as you can see from these photographs taken in June of 2014, they are still standing, for now.  Lovers of brutalist architecture and the "streets in the sky" style of residential development continue to regard Robin Hood Gardens with affection.  It isn't clear that those who lived there shared that view.

The block on the Robin Hood Lane side is/was the higher of the two standing 10 storeys high.  The Cotton Street block is/was seven storeys.  Within are/were 213 flats, some single storey and others maisonettes.  Wide balconies create the "streets" every 3 floors. The inner space has/had a hard-surfaced basketball court, a children's playground and a small man-made hill dotted with trees.  Rows of garages are arranged along the outer edges of the estate, as you can see below.  The whole area is part of a master-plan for redevelopment which intends to to provide 1,600 new homes, improve the primary school, and add a new park and other community facilities.

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