West Kentish Town estate 55 years on

Durstan todayOver the past 50 years West Kentish Town estate has put down roots. Built in 1963 using the Reema pre-cast concrete walling system, it originally comprised 388 homes, including two blocks of 10 and 15 storeys (Hawkridge).

The Reema system was a basic form of pre-cast concrete construction, one of the earlier types of ‘industrialised building system’ that was to become widespread later in the 60s. A reviewer of the built project in 1964 wrote “West Kentish Town as a result is one of the first, if not the first, fully considered “industrialised” environments in this country”.

Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 15.36.52screen shot 2019-01-19 at 08.27.31Construction of Cannington, Bassett Street

Allcroft CoityScreen Shot 2019-03-14 at 15.44.06Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 15.41.36Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 15.47.41Tower baseScreen Shot 2019-03-14 at 15.45.33Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 15.37.31Screen Shot 2018-12-08 at 07.45.39View of the new WKT estate from Queens Crescent

Unfortunately the Reema system had minimal insulation, resulting in condensation problems. In 1982 Camden Council considered total demolition and rebuilding of the estate, but instead opted for an extensive programme of repairs, insulation and cladding with hanging tiles. Construction cost was around £8m, compared with an estimated £13m for total rebuilding.  Following the Ronan Point tower block disaster in Canning Town in 1968, strengthening works were carried out at Hawkridge. However in 1986 concerns were raised about the safety of the blocks and tenants were evacuated; rather than carry out the necessary repair works, the blocks were sold to a developer.  Further works at West Kentish Town estate included replacement of the original Crittal windows with double glazing in 1996.Drawing 1982.PDFDrawing 1982.PDFConstruction details showing over cladding of the original concrete panels 1982

Reroofing WKT estateRefurbishment works in the 1980s

IMG_2201IMG_3211IMG_2197Creation of growing spaces in West Kentish Town estate (the original design did not provide any private gardens).

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