Author: Paul Lincoln

Housing for single people threatened with destruction

This is Bernard Morgan House in the City of London and on the edge of Golden  Lane Estate.  It is an interesting building not so much for its appearance (which is pleasant but not show stopping) but for what its current situation represents.  It was built as a section house, a hostel for police officers working for the City of London police.  It has housed not only police officers but staff working at the Old Bailey. It is about fifty years old and offers accommodation for single peole working for the City of London.  By definition the people most likely to have been housed are public servants working on shifts. I am not sure how many people were housed but I guess it would be about 150.  Bernard Morgan House has now been sold to a property developer to build luxury housing. In the same street is the old YMCA building. This was sold to Redrow developers about eighteen monhs ago.  This also housed single people, perhaps two hundred at a time on probably the lowest rents in the City. There had been a s106 agreement (a planning payment enabling the local authority to pay for a public benefit) but the law changed and £13m agreed for public housing was lost. 

So in the space of two years, about 350 units for single people on low wages, working early or late shifts have been lost and not replaced.


Why does the Royal London Hospital treat pedestrians so miserably?

Does the recently completed Royal London in Whitechapel prefer you to arrive by ambulance?  Look at the bizarre welcome it offers to people trying to get in on foot. 


A pilgrimage from Paddington to Old Oak Common, the new heart of west London

The walk from Paddington to Old Oak Common via Little Venice and Ladbroke Grove takes about an hour but it offers a great display of architectural styles from the brutalist bus shelter hidden beneath the West Way to a bizarre example of a housing estate barricading some of its residents behind a reinforced blue concrete wall. The highlight of the trip is Trellick Tower, dilapidated but benefiting from the contrast between the concrete and an almost tropical blue sky. Old Oak Common is difficult to fathom stretching along the canal and sandwiched between two or is it three railway lines. At some point these lines will be knitted together to create an interchange and railway junction at the heart of a brand new London district. Until this happens, it remains one of the few places in London that appears lost, mysterious and just beyond the horizon of regeneration.





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Via Verde – a really green approach to low cost housing in South Bronx

Shared space at the entrance to the site
Orchards on one of the roofs
Trees on the top terrace
Shared growing space
Communal composting bins
Sedum roof
View from the community room at the top of the development
View showing the orchards, allotments and the neighbouring green roofs

Via Verde is a new housing development designed by Dattner Architects and London-based Grimshaw. It was the winning entry to a New Housing New York Legacy Competition. The 1.5 acre site in the South Bronx is located in the Melrose neighbourhood.

The mixed-use project provides 151 rental apartments affordable to low-income households and 71 co-ops affordable to middle-income households. What makes this a very special project is the way in which each level of the development is stepped back to reveal allotments or a garden or a small orchard. this can very reasonably be called a healthy building in what used to be known as a very unhealthy neighbourhood.