Architects for Social Housing (ASH) was founded in March 2015 in order to respond architecturally to London’s housing ‘crisis.’ We are a Community Interest Company that organises working collectives for individual projects. Our unifying principle is that refurbishing and increasing the housing capacity on London’s council estates, rather than demolishing and redeveloping them as properties for market sale, is a more sustainable solution to the housing needs of London’s communities.
Over the past four years, ASH has produced design alternatives to demolition for six London housing estates, including Knight’s Walk (2015), where we succeeded in stopping the demolition of half the homes; the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates (2015-16), where our feasibility study has been submitted as part of the residents’ Right to Transfer; the Central Hill estate (2015-17); for which we produced a book-length case study; the Northwold estate (2017), where our designs helped save the estate from demolition; and the Patmore estate (2017-), with which we are still working to produce a vision of its future design.
Between 2015-17, ASH ran Open Gardens Estates, a London-wide annual event hosted by 17 estates threatened with demolition. Over the past two years, ASH has explored the possibilities of co-operative housing development by producing design proposals for The Drive (2017-) and Brixton Gardens (2018).
ASH has published over 200 articles, reports, presentations and case studies on our website that have been visited over 230,000 times by 127,000 people from 179 countries. These include The Truth about Grenfell Tower (July 2017), Mapping London’s Estate Regeneration Programme (September 2017), and The Costs of Estate Regeneration (November 2018).
ASH has delivered more than 50 presentations to academic, art, design and architectural institutions, local councils and the Greater London Authority, as well as given hundreds of talks and interviews to campaign groups, journalists, and students. We have also held public meetings on causes such as the Grenfell Tower fire (July 2017) to subjects like the changing policy on estate regeneration (June 2018). ASH has exhibited at the Peer Gallery (2015), the Cubitt Gallery (2016), the Institute of Contemporary Arts (2017), and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery (2019).
ASH’s work is the subject of a feature-length film, Concrete Soldiers (December 2017), and we appeared in the documentary Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (March 2017). We have also appeared numerous times as expert commentators on various news outlets, including RT UK News, Channel 4 News, ABC News and LBC Radio.