Retrofitting Utopia.

Studio BA 05 will continue its programme “Retrofitting Utopia” whereby significant prototypical developments are revisited and reviewed in the light of contemporary needs and imperatives. In 2016/17 we worked in Letchworth, the world’s first and much replicated Garden City based on principals defined by Ebenezer Howard. Now we will turn our attention to the twentieth century reinterpretation of Howard’s model, by studying what Le Corbusier termed the vertical garden city.

Our site is London Thamesmead, an extensive development initiated by the Greater London Authority in the 1960s as a means of addressing London’s post war housing shortage. Developed as a forward looking new town, providing a mixed use programme of housing and recreation it explored the potential of an expressive and generous modernist architecture, utilising high and medium rise buildings, set in a parkland with shared recreational and educational facilities.