Dawson's Heights

Dawson's Heights

One might call Dawson’s Heights, Kate Macintosh’s housing scheme for Southwark Council, completed in 1972, ‘Daunting Heights’. As you approach from the north, its fortress-like structure appears quite intimidating. But this was never her intention. Like an Italian hilltop town, there is an element of enclosure, almost protection in the estate’s central court. A significant influence was Macintosh’s home city of Edinburgh. She wanted to exploit the drama of the hilltop location, not just for the residents, but also for the surrounding area. As Kate herself said in a 2017 interview ‘south London is pretty monotonous’ (compared to Edinburgh). Anyone who has walked along Princes Street and looked towards the old town with its vertiginous tenements would appreciate the comparison she makes.

Composed of two ziggurat blocks, the design of Dawson’s Heights recalls a student project by Kate for an opera house in Edinburgh. Shortly before her appointment with Southwark, she had worked with Sir Denys Lasdun, who had just been chosen to work on the National Theatre, where she designed a small experimental theatre. She also acknowledges him as an influence. He came to give a lecture at Edinburgh School of Art when she was a student and she admired his flats at St James’s Place.

So, we can see these elements coming together at Dawson’s Heights. A dramatic site, built on the spoil heap of the Crystal Palace railway. Staggered blocks provide depth, height and outstanding views across north and south London. While access bridges link the two blocks at a lower level.

Accommodation comprises 296 dwellings ranging from one to four-bedroomed units, the latter confined to the lower maisonette blocks. All the apartments are split-level with generous balconies and wide access galleries, large enough for delivery trolleys. All the living rooms are designed to face south, with fully fitted kitchen / diners.

Several of the images below  featured in the exhibition Dawson's Heights: Hilltop Community at 66 Portland Place, between 29 November 2018 and 2 February 2019. This exhibition was created to complement the joint RIBA and V&A display, A Home for All: Six Experiments in Social Housing, which ran from 24 November 2018 to 30 June 2019 at the V&A Museum.

Feature by Suzanne Waters.

1 ... 8 9 10 12 13 ... 3291
108594 items
RIBA4060Designs for Sleek Tower (left) and Verandah Tower (right), Brisbane, Queensland

 
RIBA4062Design for the restoration of the Parthenon, Athens

 
RIBA4063Design for remodelling Brownsea Castle, Brownsea Island, Dorset, for Colonel William Petrie Waugh: perspective


RIBA4064Design for the staircase of the chapel-library wing, Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire

 
RIBA4065Design for the extension of the east end of the Church of St Bartholomew, Brighton

 
RIBA4066Competition design for the South Kensington Museum, London: view from the south-west


RIBA4067Design for new Senate Houses in St James's Park, London

 
RIBA4069Design for a wallpaper frieze entitled 'Seagull'

 
RIBA4070Design for an imperial palace for sovereigns of the British Empire: perspective of one of the courtyards


RIBA4073Design for a library bookcase, Knightshayes Court, near Tiverton, Devon

 
RIBA4074Design for the Bishop's throne, Cathedral Church of Saint Finn Barr, Cork

 
RIBA4076View from the cottage of Humphry Repton at Hare Street, Essex, before proposed alterations


RIBA4077Competition design for the Rathaus, Hamburg

 
RIBA4078Designs for the New Bodleian Library, Oxford: perspective from Trinity College gardens

 
RIBA4079Designs for Oakhurst, Ropes Lane, Fernhurst, West Sussex, for Mrs E. F. Chester: perspective from the north-west


RIBA4080Designs for Dixcot, North Drive, Tooting Bec Common, London, for R. W. Essex: perspective of entrance front

 
RIBA4081Design for a poster for the Central Liquor Control Board entitled 'Use and Beauty' to decorate a pub or canteen, possibly in the Carlisle area

 
RIBA4082Design for a wallpaper entitled 'Bushey' produced by Essex and Company


RIBA4083Design for a wallpaper frieze entitled 'Shallop' showing shallops (boats), birds and islands

 
RIBA4084Design for a wallpaper and tapestry produced by Essex and Company to honour Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 1897

 
RIBA4085Design, prossibly for a wallpaper, showing stylized oak leaves and acorns


RIBA4086Design for a wallpaper and textile showing a bird among leaves, flowers and berries

 
RIBA4087Design for the 'River Rug'

 
RIBA4088Edwin Smith and Olive Cook


RIBA4089Olive Cook

 
RIBA4090Edwin Smith

 
RIBA4091Edwin Smith


RIBA4092Edwin Smith

 
RIBA4094Edwin Smith and Olive Cook in the garden, 9A Church Row, Hampstead, London

 
RIBA4095Preliminary design for Crooksbury House, near Farnham, Surrey


RIBA4096Unexecuted designs for a country house on the Hudson River, New York State, for Mr E. H. Harriman: perspective sketch of entrance front

 
RIBA4097Design for the dining room sideboard, Munstead Wood, Godalming

 
RIBA4098Unexecuted design for the Grand Foyer, International Music Hall and Opera House, Hyde Park, London


1 ... 8 9 10 12 13 ... 3291