I know I haven’t been posting in a while, that is because I have had little time to focus on what really matters to me, which is going out taking photographs. Hopefully this term will finish soon!
This was somewhere in the mysterious inland Camberwell. There is a series of really interesting, bungalow looking council blocks that I would love to further explore. I have had a look around few of them and I was already fascinated. Some of them are almost derelict and extremely interesting.
I like to discover different layers of the urban environment. Every one of them is representing a particular period in the history of the city and shows us its constantly changing character and boundaries.
As you can see from this photograph and from the many previous ones I am interested in post-war modernist architecture - especially in public housing buildings. I will write more specifically about this aspect of the project in the future.
I am happy to say that my interest in the modernist buildings is correlating with the research on Aberdeen for “The Grey City” project. In the 70’s majority of the city council’s and architects in Britain drastically changed their approach to high-rise flats and rejected them for many reasons.
“Only one large municipality in the UK - the City of Aberdeen - managed to bypass completely the political and professional rejection of high flats, and carry on building them right until the very end of public housebuilding on any significant scale in Britain"
Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius (1994). Tower Block; Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Hong Kong: Yale University Press. p322.
Denied permission by the city council to install a block of flats at the corner of Mandela Way and Page’s Walk, a developer instead applied to install a “tank.” Thinking it was a septic tank, the council approved - but it was actually a WWII Soviet T-34 tank, which formerly served in the Czech Army.
The tank has since served as a canvas for various community art projects.
Around thirty-two people were arrested Monday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including Representative Charles Rangel and nine New York City Council members, when they blocked a bridge to LaGuardia Airport during a rally for liveable wages and an MLK Day paid holiday. In total, close to a 1,000 people attended the protest that was organized by Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.
Power boxes can be found on almost any street, in any city around the world, yet in the hands of German artist, Evol, these unassuming objects are transformed into tower blocks and council flats. They become monuments to a social utopia that turned sour, they become metaphors for the state of the city itself.