We just happened to be down in East Manchester looking at a housing site when we chanced upon this little scheme in New Islington, next door to Fat’s Islington Square. Just when you thought UK housing had dropped into some form of stasis this sort of thing pops up and gives you a bit of hope.
The first thing to notice is the ambition to make proper streets. The repetition of frontage located on the pavement edge makes for an urban scale which is vital to this part of the city. It also makes Fat’s
scheme next-door look like a real period piece. The key here is productive simplicity. One of my favourite themes. There appears to be only three house types and four different types of brick but the simplicity of the house makes them very adaptable for different urban conditions. Large windows too with panels ensure that there is plenty of light, while giving the facades a strong composition and balance rather than ‘add –ons’ to give them identity. Really refreshing. The point is that a great deal can be achieved if we rely on architecture to do it for us rather than what’s often called ‘kerb ‘ appeal. As the Leon Krier once said; ‘People don’t complain about architecture. They complain about the lack of architecture’. It can’t be too expensive either. Think of the savings achieved through good design by managing and minimizing the range components materials, junctions etc.
Imagine if we built houses for people so that they can live real lives. Homes in which people could express them and create their own worlds rather than the made up realties of many housing schemes.
Anyone know who designed them?