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Peter Barber In The East End

January 13, 2020
by the gentle author

Taking advantage of the fleeting sunlight on Sunday morning, I set out to visit some of the exemplary examples of social housing designed by architect Peter Barber in the East End. Peter is giving this year’s East End Preservation Society CR Ashbee Lecture on 23rd January. His buildings complement the existing urban landscape and are fascinating for being entirely modern yet drawing upon historic forms of housing in the capital.

Beveridge Mews, off Hannibal Rd, Stepney.

Beveridge Mews, off Hannibal Rd, Stepney

Beveridge Mews, off Hannibal Rd, Stepney

McGrath Rd, Stratford

McGrath Rd, Stratford

McGrath Rd, Stratford

Donnybrook Quarter, corner of Parnell Rd and Old Ford Rd. The project was commissioned by Circle 33 Housing Trust in 2003

Donnybrook Quarter, corner of Parnell Rd and Old Ford Rd

Donnybrook Quarter, corner of Parnell Rd and Old Ford Rd

Donnybrook Quarter, corner of Parnell Rd and Old Ford Rd

Donnybrook Quarter, corner of Parnell Rd and Old Ford Rd

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The CR Ashbee Lecture 2020

13 Responses leave one →
  1. January 13, 2020

    Intelligent, sympathetic modern house designs – hens’ teeth!

  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    January 13, 2020

    Great to see new imaginative and different forms of housing, not just the usual boring “spreadsheet” architecture.

    Interesting configuration of windows and I’d love to go inside them to see how the interiors work.

    Let’s hope his work inspires the next generation to think outside the boring box!

  3. Graeme Cook permalink
    January 13, 2020

    Very pleasing to look at. They blend in well with 19C houses. What are they like inside?

  4. January 13, 2020

    These are wonderful. More of this, less of the dull but flashy over-priced blocks built for the wealthy to rent out at exorbitant prices. I love the human scale and the twists and turns, the curves and the use of relevant materials. Social housing should be the way forward.

  5. January 13, 2020

    Mr. Barber has done a Wonderful selection of new houses for poor people. ???????

  6. January 13, 2020

    Having lived in Stepney in the 1950’s and 60’s, I find these buildings quite ugly and out of character with the East End as I knew it – bring back the elegant Georgian and Victorian terrace designs with tree lined roads.

  7. paul loften permalink
    January 13, 2020

    I love the arches and also the white buildings. The rounded corners have perhaps a hint of Art Deco? I don’t know if Mr Barber was inspired by the white Isokon flats in Lawn Road Hampstead which maybe London’s last remaining Art Deco Bauhaus flats and also have a very interesting history. I am not an expert in architectural matters so possibly not. However, I do think he should be commended for his thoughtful designs that add character and style to the streets of East London.

  8. Derek Bailey permalink
    January 13, 2020

    I lived on Umberston Street in Stepney as a kid and these homes look wonderful in contrast to where we lived.

  9. January 13, 2020

    Fantastic examples of social housing design. We nees more of this across the UK.

  10. January 14, 2020


  11. Susan Henry permalink
    January 15, 2020

    These are all quite attractive – I especially like the McGrath Road stone building, which has an almost medieval starkness to it. The only one I wonder about is the shake-covered building. I live in Vancouver, Canada, and we have quite a few of those buildings. They tend not to age well in wet climates, and end up looking quite rundown and tatty.

  12. January 17, 2020

    The Donnybrook Quarter buildings particularly in these photographs, bright white against a blue sky, have an appealing mediterranean quality. The cantilevered balconies are charming but rather pointlessly small. Room for 2 on a sunny day should surely be the minimum area! How long it will be before the paint becomes mould stained & drab in the UK climate? I wonder if there are any restrictions on the render colour. They might look even more Meditarranean if painted in some bright pastel shades…

  13. January 17, 2020

    I do remember visiting Old Ford Road area in the mid 70’s & my memory is of a drab & very run-down industrial area. RThey may not be like Georgian or Victorian housing; building methods & styles cannot stand still. There are too many ugly interpretations of “traditional” styles & thank heavens more of them weren’t imposed on this particular urban landscape. There are still some fine original traditional terraces in & around Old Ford Road. However these new houses have a charm of their own & for their inhabitants, should be warmer & more energy efficient by a long way.

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