John Furse


This thesis The Smithsons at Robin Hood can be seen as a logical continuation of This Was Tomorrow, in that it deals specifically with that tomorrow: the culmination of the Smithsons' thinking, on the problem of mass working-class housing, in the built form of Robin Hood Gardens, Poplar, London E.14., completed in 1972. It is the purpose of this thesis to argue that the Smithsons' intentions were indeed a dream, and that Robin Hood is an ideological fragment of that dream. The building is, as Johnson suggests: 'very far from being just another block of council flats', equally it is not the 'demonstration of a more enjoyable way of living' that the Smithsons intended: the blend of common-sense and poetry - ordinariness and light- ultimately fails. This particular ideology, specific to the Smithsons, was dreamed of in the 'fifties: Robin Hood was conceived, in that self-same spirit, in the 'sixties, and completed in 1972. Now, in the 'eighties, we must make a critical analysis of that ideology. This will be undertaken by a critical comparison of the Smithsons' stated criteria, with the observed realities of the way of life experienced by those that have been chosen to live in Robin Hood.

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