This project proposes changes to the Golden Lane Estate in central London to integrate the public spaces within the estate with the surrounding city. The Golden Lane Estate is a modernist housing complex consisting of nine residential buildings with 564 flats. It was built as a council house project in 1952-1962 to satisfy the housing need after the Second World War.
Current observations show that the public spaces at the Golden Lane Estate are mostly empty and spread over different levels increasing the spatial separation. Residents use the large open spaces for transit to or from their flats and visitors are rarely attracted. The modernist layout, where few people share space in front of the entrances to their flats, have affected the perceived ownership of public space at Golden Lane. It is neither perceived as private nor fully public.
I have assumed that the residential buildings should stay intact. They are architecturally and historically valuable and serve their purpose well. The flats are popular and the estate was listed in 1992.
The Golden Lane Leisure Centre is situated in the middle of the estate. In the listing record it is described as a chief example of the architects’ belief that a housing development should not just be a collection of flats but a real part of the city; it provides welcome facilities for those who live outside the estate as well as for residents.
By reviving the Leisure Centre and turning unused garages into offices the two western public spaces are activated and restructured to be attractive to residents and visitors again. The revenue from the commercial spaces can finance an upgrade of the eastern public spaces to be a calm oasis where residents can realise their gardening dreams or office workers have their lunch. Today’s Golden Lane Estate can become a real part of the city with four attractive places adding value for residents, workers and visitors.
Author: Hildingsson, Karin