Memorial for Grenfell

After JAA Studio

Image after JAA Studio

Private contractors and consultants on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment

  • Mark Allen, Technical Director of Celotex, and member of the Building Regulations Advisory Committee
  • Deborah French, UK Sales Manager, Arconic
  • Ray Bailey, Managing Director, Harley Facades
  • Bob Holt, Director and Executive Chairman of Lakehouse services
  • Bob Greene, Technical Contract Manager, RGE Services
  • Roger Greene, Managing Director, RGE Services
  • Chris Train, Chief Executive, Cadent Gas
  • Andrew McQuatt, Partner, Max Fordham engineering, and Lead Engineer on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment
  • Mark Palmer, Senior Partner, Max Fordham engineering, and Senior Engineer on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment
  • David Lloyd Jones, Founding Director of Studio E Architects
  • Andrzej Kuszell, Founding Director of Studio E Architects, and lead architect on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment
  • Mark Mitchener, Managing Director, Rydon Construction
  • Jeff Henton, Managing Director, Rydon Maintenance, and Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • Robert Bond, Group Chief Executive, Rydon, and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building
  • Philip James Boulcott, Director and Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Artelia UK
  • Ian Bailey, Director and Public Sector Lead, Artelia UK
  • Carl Stokes, Fire Safety Consultant on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment

Board Members and directors of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation

  • Simon Brissenden, independent Board Member, KCTMO
  • Anthony Preiskel, independent Board Member, KCTMO and Non-Executive Director of the Homes and Communities Agency
  • Paula France, council-nominated Board Member, KCTMO
  • Judith Blakeman, Labour councillor and council-nominated Board Member, KCTMO
  • Maighread Condon-Simmonds, Conservative councillor and council-nominated Board Member, KCTMO
  • Fay Edward, Chair and Resident Board Member of the KCTMO
  • Claire Williams, Project Manager on Grenfell Tower refurbishment, KCTMO
  • Laura Johnson, Director of Housing, KCTMO
  • Sacha Jevans, Executive Director of Operations at the KCTMO
  • Yvonne Birch, Executive Director of People and Performance at the KCTMO
  • Barbara Matthews, Executive Director of Financial Services and Information and Communication Technology at the KCTMO
  • Robert Black, former Chief Executive of the KCTMO

Councillors and officers on Kensington and Chelsea council

  • John Allen, Building Inspector, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council
  • Vimal Sarna, Senior Solicitor at Legal Services, RBKC
  • Michael Clark, Director for Corporate Property and Customer Services, RBKC
  • Jonathan Bore, Executive Director for Planning and Borough Development, RBKC
  • Nicholas Holgate, former Chief Executive and Town Clerk, RBKC
  • Elizabeth Rutherford, former Member of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • Adrian Berrill-Cox, former Member of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • Eve Allison, Member of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • Will Pascal, Member of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • Matthew Palmer, Member of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • Kim Taylor-Smith, Member of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee and current Deputy Leader, RBKC
  • Tony Holt, former Vice-chairman of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • David Nicholls, Vice-chairman of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • Quentin Marshall, former Chairman of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • Sam Mackover, Chairman of the Housing and Property Scrutiny Committee, RBKC
  • Ruth Angel, Senior Project Manager in Housing Regeneration, RBKC
  • Catherine Faulks, former Cabinet Member for Education and Libraries, RBKC
  • Emma Will, former Cabinet Member for Family and Childrens Services and current Cabinet Member for Education and Libraries, RBKC
  • Paul Warrick, former Cabinet Member for Facilities Management and Procurement Policy, RBKC
  • Timothy Coleridge, former Cabinet Member for Environment, Environmental Health, Leisure and Arts, RBKC
  • Mary Weale, former Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, RBKC
  • Tim Ahern, former Cabinet Member for Planning Policy and Transport, Kensington and Chelsea council, RBKC
  • Warwick Lightfoot, former Cabinet Member for Finance and Strategy, RBKC
  • Gerard Hargreaves, former Cabinet Member for Civil Society and Community Safety and current Chief Whip, RBKC
  • Marie-Therese Ross, Mayor, RBKC
  • Rock Feilding-Mellen, former Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing, Property and Regeneration, RBKC
  • Nicholas Paget-Brown, former Leader, RBKC

Members of Parliament and civil servants

  • Stephen Kelly, Chief Operating Officer for Government and Head of the Efficiency and Reform Group
  • Brian Martin, Principal Construction Professional in the Building Regulations and Standards Division in the Department of Communities and Local Government
  • Andrew Stunell, Construction Spokesperson in the House of Lords and former Parliamentary Under-secretary of State in the Department of Communities and Local Government
  • Ken Knight, Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser for England
  • Richard Blakeway, Chief Adviser to the Housing and Urban Regeneration Unit at Policy Exchange, and Board Director at the Homes and Communities Agency
  • Stephen Williams, former Liberal Democrat MP and Parliamentary Under-secretary of State in the Department of Communities and Local Government
  • James Wharton, Conservative MP, Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for International Development and former Parliamentary Under-secretary of State in the Department of Communities and Local Government
  • Oliver Letwin, Conservative MP, former Minister of State for Government Policy and current Chair of the Red Tape Initiative
  • Eric Pickles, Conservative MP, United Kingdom Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues and former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
  • Gavin Barwell, Conservative MP, Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Theresa May and former Minister of State for Housing and Planning
  • Brandon Lewis, Conservative MP, Chairman of the Conservative Party, Minister without Portfolio and former Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Services

Architects for Social Housing

Southwark Sleeper: A New Housing Initiative for London’s Homeless (Or Not)

In exciting news for developers, Sadiq Khan has announced a new package of funding under his Homes for Londoners programme. In collaboration with Southwark council, ‘Southwark Sleeper’ will be test-piloted this winter as a solution to the growing army of London’s homeless. Peter John OBE, Leader of Southwark council and newly-elected Chair of London Councils, told reporters: ‘I’m very excited about this new initiative, which demonstrates once again that Labour is the party of practical solutions. Every homeless family will be offered their very own container, the construction of which by Sheffield-based My Container Ltd will be subsidised by London’s Labour Mayor to the sum of £50,000 per container. All the lucky recipient has to do is clean up the contaminated land on which it will be located.’ When asked whether constituents refusing to be housed in the containers will be classified as ‘intentionally homeless’, Councillor John said he had an urgent business lunch with property developers Lendlease at the London Stadium and ‘couldn’t take anymore questions’.

Continue reading “Southwark Sleeper: A New Housing Initiative for London’s Homeless (Or Not)”

What Is To Be Done? Changing Metaphors of Change

Jean-Luc Godard, La Chinoise (1967)

1. Radical for Revolutionary

During my misspent youth we spoke, however hopelessly – no doubt because hopelessly – of ‘revolution’; even, with an eye to dialectical materialism, of ‘The Revolution.’ I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. But nowadays (except among my communist comrades) the standard appellation among socialists and activists alike, including many self-styled anarchists, is the word ‘radical’, which is used to describe everything from networks, assemblies, meetings, marches, communities, groups and theories, to book fairs, magazines, trainers, pop bands, fitness clubs, restaurants, marketing consultants and advertising agencies. To understand this shift in metaphor – from the turning wheel of revolution to the excavated root of radicalism – it’s useful to consider the origins of this word, both etymological and historical, and why it has been adopted as a viable alternative to the previously revolutionary aims of political practice. This definition is from the Oxford English Dictionary:

Radical / adjective & noun
[Late Latin radicalis, from Latin radix: root.)
A. adjective. 
1. Forming the root, basis, or foundation; original, primary. (Late Middle English)
2. a. Of a quality etc: inherent in the nature of a thing or person; fundamental. (Late Middle English) b. Of action, change, an idea, etc: going to the root or origin; pertaining to or affecting what is fundamental; far-reaching, thorough. (Middle 17th Century) c. POLITICS. Advocating thorough or far-reaching change; representing or supporting an extreme section of a party; specifically: History. belonging to an extreme wing of the Liberal Party. (Early 19th Century) d. Characterised by departure from tradition; progressive; unorthodox. (Early 20th Century)
B. noun.
1.
PHILOLOGY. a. A root; a radical word or letter.

2. A basis, a fundamental thing or principle. (Mid 17th century)
5. A politically radical person. (Early 19th Century)

The political sense of radical as meaning ‘change from the roots’ was first recorded in 1802 (as a noun) and in 1817 (as an adjective) to describe the extreme section of the bourgeois Whig Party, which went on to form the Liberal Party in 1859. It has been used to mean ‘unconventional’ since 1921, and has been used in slang since 1983, derived from 1970s U.S. surfer-slang meaning ‘at the limits of control’.

Continue reading “What Is To Be Done? Changing Metaphors of Change”

The Propaganda of Estate Regeneration: The Lincoln Estate, Poplar Harca and the British Broadcasting Corporation

In April of this year the BBC re-televised its three-part series Dan Cruickshank: At Home with the British, which had originally been aired in May 2016, and was again in May 2017. Halfway through the final episode, ‘The Flat’, which focuses on the history of the Lincoln estate in London’s Bow, Dan Cruickshank jumps into a Black Cab and says:

‘When the Lincoln estate was designed, the London County Council had the largest, and in many ways the finest, architectural practice in the world. Indeed, it was responsible for some of the most iconic modernist housing schemes in Europe.’

So it’s a shame that, when he gets out the cab and speaks to Historic England’s Elaine Harwood, who sings the praises of its housing schemes, he doesn’t ask her why Historic England didn’t see fit to list Central Hill estate, one of the LCC’s masterpieces, and save it from demolition by the vandals at Lambeth Labour council.

Nonetheless, Cruickshank accurately identifies three of the main causes of the decline of council estates in the UK in the late 1960s and 70s:

  1. The poor construction methods of unregulated developers throwing up systems-built housing, leading to the collapse of Ronan Point in 1968;
  2. The systematic neglect and lack of maintenance and refurbishment of buildings by councils;
  3. The obligation of those same councils, following the 1977 Housing Act, to house the homeless, leading to the change in the use of council estates as homes for working class families to becoming dumping grounds for everyone who had fallen through the welfare net and, soon after, Margaret Thatcher’s brave new world of free market capitalism.

What Cruickshank doesn’t identify is the impossibility of any form of public housing existing within the logic of an unregulated capitalist economy that must always find new markets in which to invest its surplus, which is the primary cause of the mass demolition and privatisation of council housing that is happening today.

Continue reading “The Propaganda of Estate Regeneration: The Lincoln Estate, Poplar Harca and the British Broadcasting Corporation”

Manufacturing Consent: GLA Capital Funding Guide: Section 8. Resident Ballots for Estate Regeneration Projects

Jeremy Corbyn launches the Labour Party’s local election campaign, April 2018

This is ASH’s brief commentary on the Greater London Authority policy on Resident Ballots for Estate Regeneration Projects, the recently published addendum to the London Mayor’s Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration, and the outcome of the promise to ballot residents made by Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour Party conference back in September 2017. This is the policy document that has had Labour supporters panting with anticipation ever since as they look forward to what the Labour Leader promised would be estate regeneration ‘for the benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators,’ with the added stipulation that ‘councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place. Real regeneration, yes, but for the many not the few!’ Unfortunately, like all the promises made by the Labour Leader, this has failed to materialise.

As an example of the servile appeasement of property developers masquerading as resident empowerment this document will take some beating in the consistently appalling housing policy coming out of the GLA under the title of Homes for Londoners; but for those of us attentive to the yawning chasm between the socialist rhetoric of the Labour Party and the neo-liberal reality of its policies, this is both instructive and indicative of the extent to which Jeremy Corbyn will be able to keep all his other pie-in-the-sky promises if (as seems increasingly unlikely) he is elected to head the government of this country.

A commentary on every implication of this former lawyer’s circumlocutions would, as in our commentary on the Labour Mayor’s Draft Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration, be longer than the policy document itself, so I’ve confined myself to a series of questions which those Labour activists with access to Sadiq Khan may, given the chance, wish to address to him. So disastrous are the Mayor’s policies on estate regeneration, however, that it has become necessary to start writing our own. These questions, therefore, are followed by some of ASH’s own policy proposals that need to become reality – and soon – if we are to see estate refurbishment and, where appropriate, infill become the enforceable default option for any council or housing association undertaking the regeneration of a housing estate.

Continue reading “Manufacturing Consent: GLA Capital Funding Guide: Section 8. Resident Ballots for Estate Regeneration Projects”

Labour Blimps

On Friday 13 July thousands of Londoners took to the streets to protest the arrival of US President Donald Trump on these shores. Trump wasn’t in London, but having tea with the Queen in Windsor Castle. Undeterred, between 100,000 and a quarter of a million people attended the protest – mostly students, middle-class women and muslims – which was interpreted as a show of popular sentiment. A quick look at the numerous placards, however, showed that the protest was, in fact, a coalition of the usual suspects – the Socialist Workers Party, the People’s Assembly against Austerity, Unite the Union and Momentum, with the organisers a role-call of Labour politicians, Labour supporters and Labour-supporting unions. Typically for the left there are two organising groups, the SWP’s Stand Up To Trump and Owen Jones’ Stop Trump, both claiming precedence and neither talking to each other. In other words, this was another Labour political spectacle, and, of course, Oh Jeremy Corbyn was given a platform from which to blather on about ‘a world of justice’. I’ve written before about Labour’s appropriation of the language of street protest to its parliamentary aspirations, and this was no exception, with Trump’s presence offering another opportunity to attack the Conservative government of Theresa May – as if a Labour government under Oh Jeremy Corbyn wouldn’t meet with the President of the USA on which so many of our post-Brexit trade deals will rely.

Besides the evangelical Labour leader, the centrepiece of the protest was a giant baby blimp of Trump, which was inflated in Parliament Square when the marching crowd arrived. Since this lies within the Government Security Zone, where the Metropolitan Police Force has free reign to arrest and otherwise beat the crap out of you on the mere suspicion that you’re about to do something anti-social let alone illegal, doing so required authorisation from another Labour politician, Sadiq Khan, who reportedly justified his decision by saying:

‘The UK, like the USA, has a long and rich history of rights and the freedom to protest and freedom of speech. The US ambassador himself commented that one thing the USA and the UK have in common is freedom of speech, and the idea of restricting that and the right to assemble because someone is offended by something is a slippery slope. When determining these things it should be about whether it is safe and peaceful. As a politician I should not be the arbiter of what is good or bad taste.’

This will be news to the hundreds of protesters who have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police Force for carrying placards or saying something the busies deem to be ‘offensive’, which under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is now grounds for arrest; and to the thousands of protesters who have been kettled for hours by the Met for holding protests in London without Sadiq Khan’s permission. Unsurprisingly, Trump responded by accusing the London Mayor of doing a ‘bad job’ on crime and terrorism, since when the handbags have continued to fly in ever greater assumptions of moral outrage – Twitter writ large on the world stage for everyone to see.

Now, regular readers of the ASH blog will appreciate the irony of Labour’s leaders assuming the mantle of moral superiority in the face of Donald Trump. Undoubtedly there are degrees of incompetence, corruption and appallingness in our political leaders, and compared to Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Theresa May anyone would look good. But that doesn’t mean the Labour Mayor and Council Leaders responsible for what’s happening across London’s 21 Labour-run boroughs have suddenly turned into saints, or that the obscenity of what’s being done in Tottenham, or at Woodberry Down, or at Blackwell Reach, or in Stratford, or in the Elephant and Castle, or in Brixton, or in Croydon, or in the Vauxhall, Nine Elms and Battersea Opportunity Area, represents some sort of model of political transparency and accountability to which we should aspire.

Unfortunately, we live in irony-free times, where the spluttering of the permanently offended constitutes what’s left of our political discourse. So continuing our commitment to providing design alternatives to the lies of Labour councils, ASH has designed these inflatable blimps of the politicians who have a rather more direct and immediate effect on the lives of Londoners than the President of the United States of America. Of course, I know that the middle classes like to keep their protests to issues that don’t call into question their own class position as homeowners, middle-income earners or mortgagors with the bank of mum and dad, and far prefer to get outraged about things happening on the other side of the world on which their protest will have not the least conceivable effect; but should Disgusted of Hackney, or Haringey, or Tower Hamlets, or Newham, or Southwark, or Lambeth, or Croydon care to focus their liberal outrage on what’s being done all around them by the Labour councils they’ve just re-elected to greater majorities in local government, we recommend these Labour blimps for their use. Oh, and when following Oh Jeremy Corbyn into the Promised Land, beware of golden calves, inflatable or otherwise.

Jeremy Corbyn Blimp

Simon Elmer
Architects for Social Housing

Architects for Social Housing is a Community Interest Company (no. 10383452). Although we do occasionally receive minimal fees for our design work, the majority of what we do is unpaid and we have no source of public funding. If you would like to support our work financially, you can make a donation through PayPal:

Dresden Diary: Architecture, History and Politics

Palace of Culture, Alstadt, Dresden

‘The city as a form of settlement did not arise by chance. The city is the richest economic and cultural form of community settlement, proven by centuries of experience. In its structural and architectural design the city is an expression of the political life and the national consciousness of the people.’

 – Government of the German Democratic Republic,
The Sixteen Principles of Urban Design (1950)

Architecture is the political art par excellence, and not only because, unlike painting or literature, architecture is a collectively consumed art, and therefore constitutes its audience as a mass rather than fragments it into the individual consumer. From this collective consumption, undoutedly, derives its social power to constitute a community of interest – with common goals, a shared history, and a collective future – from an undifferentiated and therefore potentially revolutionary society. ‘Architecture or revolution!’ was Le Corbusier’s warning to his paymasters – and he was right. But in addition to this power, which it shares with music and theatre – which are themselves dependent upon the architecture of their setting – architecture goes beyond the symbolic realm to mobilise the actual, realised referent: the human body. At once receptacle, vehicle and medium of the human mind, the human body is captured, subjected, moved, orchestrated, arranged, placed, situated, presented, configured and collectivised by architecture as a mass. Whether it is the willingly embraced community of the music festival, sports arena or religious event, or the enforced collectivity of the shopping mall, the rush-hour traffic jam or the public transport queue, this mass remains the object of political government, and architecture is the art that fashions that object: in the spaces of our dwelling, our labour, our consumption, our play, our entertainment, our celebration, our anxiety, our fear, our anger, our collective participation in the spectacle of society. Indeed, the increasing virtuality of our communities has only increased our nostalgic longing for architectural massing. To understand how this political object is constituted and deployed, governed and interrogated, controlled and dispersed, we should attend to the technique of architecture; for it is this tékhnē that will reveal to us the éthos of the polis. Architecture is always political.

Continue reading “Dresden Diary: Architecture, History and Politics”