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View Poll Results: Have your say
Demolish - Its Butt Ugly. 198 67.58%
Philistines - Refurbishment NOW! 86 29.35%
Eh? 9 3.07%
Voters: 293. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 29th, 2012, 04:13 PM   #561
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galro View Post
But still: The experts on the matter (English heritage) have said it is okay to demolish RHG. Some parts of the public (a few architects) disagrees with this. Either you believe the public should have a say in the matter and then you could argue to keep it or not, or you believe the experts opinions should be heard and then you should celebrate demolishing of RHG as the experts allow. Anything else is hypocrisy.

Remember the architects fields is to design new buildings, it's the heritage fondations job to say whether or not these buildings represent a important enough part of the history. Your experts didn't think they did.

So start celebrating that it gets demolished.

Sorry you are wrong. The experts at English Heritage are never asked if anything is OK to be demolished. They cannot give an opinion about that question because it aint put forward.

So no hypocrisy here, just you twisting the facts.

You see, they are asked if somethings are worth preserving. English Heritage is not defending to demolish 99% of the built environment, if you understand what I am saying.

As I said before, is not such a big drama. This building has already entered history in a such form that the immense majority of buildings cannot even dream: appreciated by many that study the subject of architecture. Many other great buildings have suffered the same fate of being destroyed, therefore it is now entering another even more exclusive pantheon.

Last edited by menganito; December 29th, 2012 at 08:34 PM.
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Old December 29th, 2012, 06:07 PM   #562
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What gets me is how Architects can sit there and tell people they are wrong. I work in the Games Industry, I have a Masters in the Subject too. However, I don't go round telling people they are wrong for liking different games to me, I like a lot of Indie stuff which the mainstream audiences aren't into.

I can see a parallel here with RHG. Architectural Professionals love it, but the Public does not. Gaming Professionals love concept games that the general audience does not. The only difference is, the public can choose to not play The Unfinished Swan, they DO have to look at - and in some cases live in - things like RHG.
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Old December 29th, 2012, 06:40 PM   #563
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Architects were so clever as they used blue asbestos in their buildings. A modern triumph of the age and good use of expert opinon.

Last edited by mouldss@hotmail.co.u; December 29th, 2012 at 06:47 PM.
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Old December 29th, 2012, 08:19 PM   #564
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Originally Posted by ill tonkso View Post
What gets me is how Architects can sit there and tell people they are wrong. I work in the Games Industry, I have a Masters in the Subject too. However, I don't go round telling people they are wrong for liking different games to me, I like a lot of Indie stuff which the mainstream audiences aren't into.

I can see a parallel here with RHG. Architectural Professionals love it, but the Public does not. Gaming Professionals love concept games that the general audience does not. The only difference is, the public can choose to not play The Unfinished Swan, they DO have to look at - and in some cases live in - things like RHG.
Some architects tell some people that they are wrong and some people tell some architects that they are wrong. It is not such an asymetric situation. Still, some people are not able to see the symmetry.

------------

From wikipedia: "Asbestos mining began more than 4,000 years ago..." Some people do like the olden times techniques of construction still. They even describe them as "labour of love".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos
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Old December 29th, 2012, 09:52 PM   #565
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menganito View Post
------------

From wikipedia: "Asbestos mining began more than 4,000 years ago..." Some people do like the olden times techniques of construction still. They even describe them as "labour of love".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbestos
Glass may have begun in 1730 BCE, glass is old hat too.

mordern ways of using Asbestos By the mid 20th century uses included fire retardant coatings, concrete, bricks, pipes and fireplace cement, heat, fire, and acid resistant gaskets, pipe insulation, ceiling insulation, fireproof drywall, flooring, roofing, lawn furniture, and drywall joint compound.

also they knew it was dangerous in 1900 and back further.

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Old December 29th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #566
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Sorry you are wrong. The experts at English Heritage are never asked if anything is OK to be demolished. They cannot give an opinion about that question because it aint put forward.

So no hypocrisy here, just you twisting the facts.

You see, they are asked if somethings are worth preserving. English Heritage is not defending to demolish 99% of the built environment, if you understand what I am saying.
They do not consider it an important enough piece of UKs architectural legacy to preserver. Given that it is now it is now up for demolishing, then this in turns means that they accept - or say it is okay - to demolish it. They only reason they are listing buildings in the first place is to say what they are not okay with being demolished and or being re-developed in other ways.

But that's the expert opinion. Then you could of course argue, like me, that the general population, like architects, should be allowed to have a say in the matter.
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Old December 29th, 2012, 10:49 PM   #567
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They do not consider it an important enough piece of UKs architectural legacy to preserver. Given that it is now it is now up for demolishing, then this in turns means that they accept - or say it is okay - to demolish it. They only reason they are listing buildings in the first place is to say what they are not okay with being demolished and or being re-developed in other ways.

But that's the expert opinion. Then you could of course argue, like me, that the general population, like architects, should be allowed to have a say in the matter.

Yeah I know, preposterous.

Did you hear about the campaign by architects in defence of this building? It included such respected figures as Richard Rogers and Zaha Hadid.

Experts can and do disagree on just about any issue.

I hope you acknowledge that the general public is not a monolithic structure in its opinions neither.

The fact is that, as I said above, 99% of the built environment is up for demolition in that definition you make of "unlisted" and that seems OK. The difference for this particular case that separates it from most of the rest of that 99% is that the owner of the building (Tower Hamlets Council) is up to make a lot of money, for his running budget, if they allow to build 1700 flats on this site. It will save them not having to restore this building and it will pay for 700 social houses for its social tenants needs. It is this fact alone what is behind the demolition of this building not the circumstance of not being listed or of not being liked by "ignorant" general public.

Last edited by menganito; December 29th, 2012 at 11:25 PM.
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Old December 29th, 2012, 11:33 PM   #568
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Shouldn't be demolished, definitely refurbished. It's a good example of brutalism.

Although I wouldn't care if it was. I've seen far better examples.
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Old December 30th, 2012, 08:52 PM   #569
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Park Hill: rebirth of unloved brutalist estate highlights 50 years of change

-- Link to Guardian article --



The event itself, a week or so into the new year, will involve little fuss, simply a few households moving into refurbished flats. But the symbolism is momentous: a rebirth for one of Britain's most infamous housing estates and a half-century of turbulent social history coming full circle.

Park Hill is the estate in question, a spiral of lattice-fronted brutalist blocks which rise – some would say loom – over the centre of Sheffield from a slope just east of the city's railway station.

A pioneering and initially popular post-war development famed for its "streets in the sky" network of wide, sloping walkways, Park Hill charted a common trajectory for such estates: optimism giving way to dilapidation, social decline and then notoriety. For most the end point was demolition. Park Hill was saved because its innovative design gained a Grade II* listing in 1997.

Renovation was handed to a private developer, Urban Splash. Now, after a tortuous eight-year project during which the need to make the crumbling site more liveable repeatedly clashed with the conservation concerns of English Heritage, the first few dozen occupants of the renovated blocks are about to move in.

As a tale of an unloved architectural lexicon finding new favour this is remarkable enough. A handful of other once despised post second world war brutalist blocks have been reborn, notably Trellick Tower in North Kensington, London. Park Hill is not just significantly bigger, it doesn't have the advantage of a highly desired postcode.

But the redevelopment also provides a microcosm of 50 years of British social change. In 1961 the new residents were council tenants, many employed in the city's heavy industries. The commercial units at the bottom of the blocks housed butchers, grocery shops and several pubs.

The 2013 intake is very different, not least because two-thirds of them will be purchasers, albeit some on shared ownership schemes. Among the first arrivals are a university lecturer, a student doctor and a downsizing retired couple, with the first two commercial tenants both being design agencies. The plush sales office offers designer mugs and cushions featuring the flats' distinctive concrete grid.

If that was not contrast enough, this new reality exists alongside the old. One section of Park Hill has been renovated so far and its widened windows and gleaming, colourful metal panels directly adjoin the stained brick and concrete facade of the unmodernised section. A number of social tenants remain here, including a handful of original residents. Catherine Fletcher, below, who will move into her £120,000 two-bedroom flat in the new year, is a social historian at Sheffield University and thus more aware than most of the symbolism of middle-class professionals buying refurbished council flats in a city with a 60,000-long waiting list for social housing: "I put the flat on Facebook and some of my friends who know Sheffield said, 'You're not seriously going to live there?' There was a bit of banter about gentrification. But it's not so much about Park Hill, it's about wider government housing policy."

While drawn mainly by her flat's two-storey, double-aspect spaciousness, a trademark of Ivor Smith and Jack Lynn's late 1950s design, and its vertigo-inducing top floor views over the city ("I never thought I would be able to afford a penthouse flat"), she welcomes the planned social mix.

"My grandfather, who had been to Oxford and written three books, lived in a council house," she said. "It used to be the case that social housing was accessible to a really broad spread of the population. That just isn't the case now. In some ways projects like this are trying, in very difficult conditions, to recreate some of that mix that my grandad had when he lived on a little square of council houses in Bradford."

For others, the appeal is largely practical. Charlie Johnson, a 22-year-old medical student, one set of exams from becoming a junior doctor, will move into a three-bedroom flat, financing the mortgage with rent from friends. He said: "I looked at a lot of modern flats and they all seemed very boxy, almost like slightly posher student halls. This is different – it's spacious and well designed. It looks slightly strange with posh new flats right next to the others, but that's the sort of mix you get in all city centres."

Another aspect of that mix will be soon-to-be neighbours Kathleen Price, 64, and her 67-year-old husband, David, who sold the three-bedroom house just outside Doncaster where they lived for 32 years and raised three children to move into a one-bedroom flat in Park Hill. They were initially pointed to the estate by their Le Corbusier-mad son but fell for the bare concrete walls, floor-to-ceiling windows and short walk to the railway station and tram.

"We knew Park Hill from its reputation, and let's say we had a mixed reaction from friends," Kathleen said. "It does feel a bit like we're pioneers. I really hope that when the rest of the refurbishment happens it does become a vital place. I want people to get behind it. Where we used to live there isn't the same kind of neighbourly feel as there once was. I'd love to think that Park Hill could have that sense of community again."
Brutal list

Listed and loved:

Trellick Tower, London Designed by Erno Goldfinger in 1966, the north Kensington block of flats, offices and shops with a linked 35-storey service tower was built as rented council flats for the GLC, but is now partly in expensive private ownership, listed since 1998, now at second highest Grade II* level.

Barbican Centre, London The flats and arts complex was designed by Chamberlin, Powell & Bon and built between 1963 and 1982, listed Grade II in 2001. The Royal Shakespeare Company abandoned it as a London base in 1989, when director Adrian Noble said most "hate the place profoundly". Now coveted by city workers and 20th-century architecture lovers, a one-bedroom flat boasting an "original Barbican kitchen" is on offer at £585,000.

Rotunda, Birmingham: The 81m circular tower, opened in 1965, was designed as part of the Bullring complex by James A Roberts, built as offices but expensively refurbished in 2008 as apartments, now Grade II listed.

Under threat:

Preston bus station Opened 1969, repeatedly rejected for listing despite being described as "a masterpiece" by the 20th Century Society, now under threat of demolition by the city council.

Robin Hood Gardens, Poplar, east London Designed by Alison and Peter Smithson, completed in 1972, a campaign to have it listed failed despite support from star architects Richard Rogers and Zaha Hadid, and the estate is now under threat of demolition for redevelopment.

Birmingham Central Library Designed by John Madin and opened in 1974, twice proposed for listing by English Heritage but rejected by government, likely to be demolished as the new city library nears completion.

Unlisted, but safe for now:

Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth concert hall Designed by group of young architects for the Greater London Council and opened in 1968. Unlike their near neighbour, the Grade I Royal Festival Hall, they have been granted immunity from listing, meaning they could be demolished in some future redevelopment of the South Bank complex

Demolished:

Gateshead car park Designed by Owen Luder, pulled down in 2010.

Tricorn Centre, Portsmouth Also by Owen Luder, opened in 1966, voted Britain's most-hated building in 2001, demolished 2004.
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Old December 30th, 2012, 09:56 PM   #570
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Debates like these are quite selfish really in that we can discuss at length what the architectural merits of the building are, but everyone misses the most important aspect - do people actually want to live there? And for most of the brutalist estates built in the 60s and 70s, the answer is a clear no.

Regardless of the merits of brutalism, it doesn't change the fact that when your average person drives through Poplar and sees estates like these, their perception of the area goes downhill fast. That isn't good for Poplar's reputation and it isn't good for the people who have to live there.

Refurbishments are fine, but as with Park Hill above, you can't change the oppressive scale of the building no matter how hard you try. Better to write this off as a failure and start again, I'd say.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 10:10 PM   #571
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"You can't change the oppressive scale of the building...."

Get ready for oppressiveness at Robin Hood Gardens if 1700 apartments are built on a site that now houses 252. Or do you really think it is going to look much less dense multiplying the number of apartment by seven? I do not know how to express this: Can you imagine a two floors row of houses? now can you imagine piling six similar rows on top of it? That would be 14 floors, that would be multiplying the density by seven. Well, RHG is already 10 floor high in most areas, similar to that photograph of Park Hill, before its density is multiplied by seven. Now get your imagination moving and tell me about oppressiveness.

Also does anyone (including those that believe that modernity "invented" low ceiling apartments) really think that the substitute will not be built with concrete but rather with stuco and hand carved stone or something? Keep dreaming.

Comments like these, if they do represent public opinion, are the ones that make me doubt public opinion knows what it talks about.

Last edited by menganito; January 1st, 2013 at 01:38 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2013, 11:36 AM   #572
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But you know nothing about the new plans. No one particularly cares about increased density, in fact most people here call for higher density, so I don't know why you keep repeating the same argument. We're not myopic children: we know the proposed development is going to much taller. And actually, you're misrepresenting the facts, because you know very well the current apartments at RHG are family sized, whilst the new development will contain many more smaller units for students, etc. So the density won't be anything like 7x, and since it'll be fitted into a tower (hopefully with a permeable/lively ground-level) the impact may well be less than RHG's mural/hive-like profile.

You're just a hysterical, zealous fangirl with your knickers-in-a-twist because your 'avant-garde' architecture school has hammered some shit into your brain that you're only too keen to accept and regurgitate because it makes you feel 'special', and oh so much more intelligent than the stupid bigoted public. Although you're the one who's bigoted trying to impose radical chic architecture on normal people who just want a comfortable, welcoming home to live in.

We've already discussed the pros of RHG. You think we're blind and don't know what you're hammering on about (cantilevered access decks/'floating in the sky'/etc.), but you don't have to patronize us so much: we can see what the building looks like and yes, believe-it-or-not, we can see that this building is not just your run-of-the-mill brutal block. But it seems most people aren't particularly impressed. If the architects did really push boundaries with this building and have some successes, then architects can produce and study scaled models, or just photos and plans. To force some 700 people to live in a building they don't like because a few hundred architects on the other (much nicer) side of London like it, strikes me as the most ridiculously authoritarian idea. I'd personally quite like to see Nonsuch Palace or Richmond Palace rebuilt (completely unique and historically/architecturally important buildings), but I don't go and shout at Richmond or Cheam council and tell them how to spend their money.

My friend happens to be one of those architects (UCL Bartlett trained) who vehemently vituperates any detractors of RHG, and yet she hasn't even bothered to go to RHG ever, EVER; and guess where she lives? that's right in a Victorian terrace on a majestic estate of other such yummy-mummy terraces in Battersea. In my experience, cela c'est typique.

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Old January 2nd, 2013, 12:18 AM   #573
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menganito View Post
"You can't change the oppressive scale of the building...."

Get ready for oppressiveness at Robin Hood Gardens if 1700 apartments are built on a site that now houses 252. Or do you really think it is going to look much less dense multiplying the number of apartment by seven? I do not know how to express this: Can you imagine a two floors row of houses? now can you imagine piling six similar rows on top of it? That would be 14 floors, that would be multiplying the density by seven. Well, RHG is already 10 floor high in most areas, similar to that photograph of Park Hill, before its density is multiplied by seven. Now get your imagination moving and tell me about oppressiveness.

Also does anyone (including those that believe that modernity "invented" low ceiling apartments) really think that the substitute will not be built with concrete but rather with stuco and hand carved stone or something? Keep dreaming.

Comments like these, if they do represent public opinion, are the ones that make me doubt public opinion knows what it talks about.
Just because a building is large, it doesn't make it 'oppressive'.

The Shard is large, but it's elegant, so it avoids this problem. Robin Hood Gardens on the other hand, it a bulking monolith which sucks energy out of anyone who drives past it!
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Old January 2nd, 2013, 12:39 AM   #574
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I am not sure if you know the meaning of the words you use.

The Shard's shape is a "monolith" much more than RHG is. However you put it that's what their shapes are. "One stone", one piece. The Shard is not an articulation of many shapes put together any more than RHG is an articulation of pieces. Being a monolith is not necessarily a bad thing neither necessarily good.

"Energy" is something meassured in Joules, or in Kw/h. It is something no one loses by driving past RHG more than driving around any other building; maybe you are talking of energy in a clairvoyant/medium/psychic/spiritual manner, in which case I would not know what are you refering to. Although I know it is a sense of the term dear to some kind of "public opinion", and maybe they deserve to be heard, as much as the ghosts from other dimensions. I don't think so.

See, I did not say that they were going to make a "large" building. That is obvious. I said they were going to build seven times more apartments on the same site. It is already large (ten floors). What RHG is not is as dense as it is going to be. I do not need to see the plans: This new density has already been approved without knowing what the final shape or form will be.

PS: Do not expect a "Shard" like building on that site. Far too expensive. It will not happen neither. Do expect concrete, though. Lots of it. And low ceilings. Also it is probable that it will not be a monolith: they will want to separate affordable housing (700 units) from the rest of it (1000 units), there will be at least two monoliths then; probably many more. You guys are going to love it.

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PSII: Loathing please, leave me alone. You already said you were not talking to me anymore. So please go. I did not call for your opinion on my ideas. Please do not mention me in your arguments.

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I hereby withdraw myself from any further discussions with you.

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Old January 2nd, 2013, 01:07 AM   #575
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan Dawz View Post
Just because a building is large, it doesn't make it 'oppressive'.

The Shard is large, but it's elegant, so it avoids this problem. Robin Hood Gardens on the other hand, it a bulking monolith which sucks energy out of anyone who drives past it!
The irony is that the real problem in that area is the people driving past it on the Blackwall Tunnel approach; which sucks the life out of the entire area far more than anyone could ever seriously claim two buildings do.

RHG will be a loss to British architecture, it was thoughtfully designed by architects who were unfortunately naive enough to believe council housing would be used as a means to emancipate people rather than trap them, and that the buildings would be looked after. Ultimately, for a variety of reasons owing to the surroundings and socio-economic changes, it is now not a particularly pleasant place to live.

Due to chronic undersupply of social housing and changes to the rules governing who can apply and who gets priority, RHG ended up being used to house large families and people with limited means. The people in the most immediate need were prioritised so gradually those without jobs and with large families were crammed into flats which were not designed for them. The advanced structures and systems of the building which required committed investment were poorly utilised and never properly maintained due to pressures on council spending.

If you were a large family put into a flat next to an urban motorway, which, over the course of 30+ years gradually decayed with little investment, you'd probably want it demolished too. Which is why not many people were crying for the Victorian slums to be saved either.

If RHG had been used to house those who wanted to live there, contained a decent percentage of owner occupied flats from the start, I doubt it would be threatened with demolition now. With a solid owner occupying population from the start, there would always have been pressure to keep investing, if the council residents were not housed there through necessity, but through choice, it wouldn't be housing people not particularly suited to living in flats and the people there would be happier and more committed to its upkeep.

Of course the same can be said of many estates, plenty of which were poorly designed from the start, and didn't need 30 years of underinvestment to get to a state of disrepair, the sad thing is that RHG is a unique piece or architecture that is far more worthy of preservation than most other estates, it wasn't a bodge job like so many others, it wasn't an off the shelf solution to a housing shortage, it was thoughtfully designed specifically for its location and plenty of effort was made to meet the needs of the people who were to live there. RHG's main failings are not architectural, they are not because of the way it looks, they are because it was an optimistically designed building, rather than a ruthlessly cynical exercise in damage limitation.
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Old January 2nd, 2013, 02:19 AM   #576
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PSII: Loathing please, leave me alone. I did not call for your opinion on my ideas. Please do not mention me in your arguments.
Nice way of sidestepping and going on another one of your witless rants.
I think these comments of yours really bring out your true personality.

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I am not sure if you know the meaning of the words you use.
First you tell us what buildings we should like, and then you tell us we can't use our own language properly. You should go and get a proper dictionary and look up what monolith means, because your claims look ridiculous in the face of the dictionary definition you're disputing.

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Old January 3rd, 2013, 05:53 PM   #577
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RHG will be a loss to British architecture, it was thoughtfully designed by architects who were unfortunately naive enough to believe council housing would be used as a means to emancipate people rather than trap them, and that the buildings would be looked after.
Well, hopefully they have now learned the lesson that building ugly, inhuman boxes designed to stuff people in does indeed trap them and lead to a lower quality of life.

This is going under the wrecking ball thankfully and hopefully with it will go a little bit of the mindset that led to its creation.
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Old January 6th, 2013, 10:31 PM   #578
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Old January 7th, 2013, 01:06 AM   #579
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It would make a for an interesting looking prison I suppose. The aesthetics say stay away to me. The kind of place to keep people out of sight and out of mind.
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Old January 7th, 2013, 03:14 AM   #580
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I'm sure the proposed replacement for Robin Hood Gardens will be better than what's currently there.
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