Replacement? Improvement!

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3 August 2015 – The renovation of the Splayed Apartment Blocks in Ommoord feature in a special edition of The Architect’s Journal: Exemplary Housing Estate Regeneration in Europe.

The publication contains an interesting essay by Ellis Woodman with the title Improvement over Replacement. He cites from an interview I once had with the German architect Hans Kollhoff. When I asked him to the future of the post war housing estates Kollhoff asserted: ‘I wouldn’t invest another cent the lifespan of those failed blocks of flats another ten or twenty years in them. The city and good urban architecture are solid. They’re built for eternity. It’s ridiculous to stretch by sticking a bit more insulation in the elevations. Those buildings are totally worthless.’

Woodman doesn’t hide his dismay caused by the ‘blanket dismissal of a whole era of well-intentioned architectural production’. According to him the work of the period is not without its shortcomings but there is much of quality and still more that might be enhanced through intervention.

Read Exemplary Housing Estate Regeneration in Europe online.