The Doinel Gallery is curating a photography exhibition to be part of the London Festival of Architecture.
They asked me if I could produce some photographs on the Kidbrooke Village in Greenwich, one of the largest regeneration projects in Europe. Site of the former Ferrier Housing State, the Village covers 50 acres of land.
Very often I find new developments lacking of any personality or attachment to the land they are built. Often the architecture style is so generic that could be find either in Barcelona, Abu Dabi or London. It is as if the aesthetics created by the adapted design of a building to a particular climate or terrain have disappeared. Why is that?
I met some nostalgics. Someone told me that there use to be a nice community on the former council estate, despite of the crime. A man said: ‘You only need a bunch of bad residents to make the whole estate bad and give an excuse to the council to knock it down’. The new village looks better than the old council estate but it is obviously not for the same people. Most of the apartments are on sell, and no trace of council tenants.
‘A new village for London’ is the Berkeley Group slogan, but I don’t think a corporation can create villages, neither cities, as they are shaped by history and people. Communities cannot be created from scratch.