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Robin Hood Gardens, Tower Hamlets, London: the garden facade of the ten-storey slab block © Anthony Palmer

Concrete Futures: walking tour with Anthony Palmer

Join Anthony Palmer to explore two of the best known examples of Brutalism in East London; the Balfron Tower and Robin Hood Gardens.

Join photographer and educator Anthony Palmer for a walking tour of two of the best-known examples of Brutalism in east London; the Balfron Tower (Erno Goldfinger) and the Robin Hood Gardens Estate (Alison and Peter Smithson), both designed in the 1960s to offer radical solutions to housing needs. 

In Poplar, East London, the Balfron Tower and Robin Hood Gardens Estate are celebrated examples of modern, Brutalist architecture. Designed by Erno Goldfinger, the Balfron Tower is Grade II* listed and has been refurbished within a Conservation Area.

By contrast, the Robin Hood Gardens Estate designed by Alison and Peter Smithson failed to gain listed status, despite a high-profile campaign, and is undergoing phased demolition as part of the Blackwall Reach regeneration scheme.

This walk is an opportunity to see this important architecture before it is gone and reflect on the utopian ambitions of the architects behind these great social housing projects as well as consider what aspects of their pasts might have led to such diverging futures. 


We strive to ensure our events are accessible for all. Occasionally our offsite visits may involve steps and uneven terrain; please contact us to discuss the route for specific tours and events. 

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