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Robin Hood Gardens: Requiem for a Dream

The AR delves into the Smithsons’ Brutalist landmark before the Blackwall Reach Regeneration Project transforms the site

After decades of controversy, Alison and Peter Smithson’s monumental housing estate in Poplar, East London, is finally being emptied of tenants in preparation for its demolition. The blocks will eventually be replaced by a quiver of anodyne towers designed by AEDAS. The AR’s History Editor Tom Wilkinson takes a final look at this landmark of Brutalism, tracing the context of its creation, the vagaries of its reputation, and exploring the unloved, but not unlovely spaces around it, concluding that Robin Hood Gardens is a reminder of architecture’s potential in an age of austerity.


Architects: Alison and Peter Smithson
Writer and presenter: Tom Wilkinson
Director: James English
Sound: Isabel Wilkinson
Voiceover production: Simon Charles
Editing: James English and Phineas Harper
Series Director: Phineas Harper

Music: ‘Circle of Sleep’ by Isnaj Dui
Special thanks: Jose Estevez

The Architectural Review on Youtube


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