A CHUNK of a post-war council estate that is currently being demolished will be displayed in the Victoria & Albert Museum despite it being deemed too ugly to be listed.
The three-storey section of brutalist Robin Hood Gardens includes doors, kitchen units, wardrobes, panelling and skirting boards from the seventh floor of the estate, as well as exterior facades and two interior staircases.
The museum would not disclose how much it paid for the section, but said that it contributed to the costs of its extraction.
The neglected 1970s concrete block estate in Poplar, east London, is being knocked down after a campaign by architects such as Lord Richard Rogers and Lord Norman Foster failed to save it.
The estate was designed by husband and wife Peter and Alison Smithson.
An application for preservation was rejected by listing body Historic England. Its designation head Emily Gee said it was because the building was too “bleak” and not worthy of preservation.
“It was not innovative in its design — by the time the building was completed in 1972 the ‘streets-in-the-air’ approach was at least 20 years old,” said Ms Gee in a 2015 statement.
Earlier, in 2008, the government said that it had decided not to list the block. Demolition is already underway to replace the 252 flats with an estate named Blackwall Reach that would have around 1,500 new homes.
V&A curator of contemporary architectural collections Dr Neil Bingham said that the idea to save a section of the estate came “when demolition of the social housing project was imminent.”
The museum’s acquisition will “motivate new thinking and research into this highly experimental period of British architectural and urban history,” he claimed.