Here is the Barbican introduction to tonight's screening: A whistle-stop tour on film through five decades of provision of social housing in the capital. Ernő Goldfinger is interviewed from the 26th floor of his Balfron Tower in East London, New Brutalist architects Alison and Peter Smithson defend their plans for Robin Hood Gardens in Poplar, and construction firm Laing & Son defend their programme of cottage estates. The film programme includes Kensal House (1937), First Citizens of New Estate (1951), High Living (1968), Where You Live (1968), The Smithsons on Housing (1970) and Estate Pilot (2013).
Film programme running time 80 min +
ScreenTalk In the years since these films were made, the estates featured have experienced mixed fortunes: Robin Hood Gardens, for instance, is due to be demolished – with the support of 80% of its residents, but to the outrage of leading architects Lords Rogers and Forster. With the death of Margaret Thatcher, commentators have been assessing the outcomes of her ‘right to buy’ policy; in the same period, the coalition’s ‘bedroom tax’ has come into force, and Guardian reports reach us of Newham council housing people in Birmingham B&Bs, such is the shortfall of social housing in the borough.
Join Will Self, Lynsey Hanley and Andrea Luka Zimmerman to debate all these issues and more.