A Home in A London Museum: Robin Hood Gardens’ Legacy

It is not news that Robin Hood Gardens in London is being demolished and redeveloped. The discussion behind has many sides such as redevelopment in favour of capitalisation, loss of affordable units in London, loss of an iconic housing project, redevelopment vs refurbishment and the problem of blaming the projects instead of runing-down estates as in many cases it is a problem of factoring rather than spatial design issues.

Victoria and Albert Museum decided to exhibit a part of Robin Hood Garden. The move is interesting and eeri at the same time.

… a 26-foot-high chunk of the building, comprising one duplex apartment, will now enjoy a strange second life. It’s going to be scraped off the building’s carcass and preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Britain’s national art and design collection, where it will go on display in the public galleries (possibly in an East London branch that’s due to open in 2021). A remnant of Britain’s great 20th century social housing experiment will end up not as somewhere to live, but as a museum exhibit. (CityLab)

The Museum will be exhibit the part at the Venice Architecture Biennale by reessembling it for a Biennale exhibition. THe curator of the exhibition also points out the strange way of exhibiting an architectural piece:

Olivia Horsfall Turner, co-curator of the exhibit, said she expected it to stop people in their tracks. “It is obviously something that is very strange – it will look quite bizarre to see this fragment in Venice less than 50 years after it was constructed.” But she hoped it would prompt people to look again at the architects’ original ideals and how “they can inform and inspire current thinking”. (Guardian)

The Robin Hood Gardens, 2010 (Image Credit: David Levene / Guardian)

As O’Sullivan put clearly, this is far from being a conservation attempt:

At least the V&A’s façade plan will preserve some partial memory of what the place looked like—and maybe spark some debate—even as it serves to embody the evisceration of London’s public housing. But conserving a building’s skin while destroying its heart isn’t historic preservation. It’s taxidermy. (CityLab)

 

 

(Image Credit: Architectural Journal)

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