In the UK relics of a controversial form of architecture known as ‘brutalism’ are being protected from demolition.
Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker reports from London.
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when Robin Hood Gardens estate was constructed in 1972 it was revered as a modernist icon it now faces imminent demolition the architects Alison and Peter Smithson were part of a post-war movement of young idealist who wanted to build a new egalitarian society the material chosen to express that vision concrete lots of it the new style was called Brutalism after the french breton brute or war concrete mists architecture speaks of an age that said everyone should have a decent home and they should have health and education that those are the values of the 1960s and 1970s the architecture for today says if you're rich well done if you're not we don't really care very much for you whether you love or loathe the severity of Brutalism estates like this were designed as high quality housing for the city's poor in recent years though the British government has blamed the design and the very fabric of these buildings for fostering crime but defenders of Brutalism say the poverty and neglect are more to blame the estate stands on valuable land next to gleaming new skyscrapers it's more lucrative for the cash-strapped local council to demolish the estate than refurbish it sometimes some blogs needs that extra money and some it's very difficult to kind of find the resources to bring a certain blog up to certain standard it will be replaced with this cheap and quick to build a mixture of social and private housing that can be sold for a profit it's far from the vision of botanists like renowned architect Nev Brown he blames 1980s capitalism for killing the brutalist dream we thought we were beginning to add to an organic growth of society that would continue and instead of becoming something that was integral with their developing culture it became an object from a previous historical moment in time but changing attitudes and politics mean brutal isms being re-evaluated Browns buildings are all culturally protected they cannot be demolished other buildings have become fashionable style icons here at the Barbican pen houses sell for more than four million dollars of what's fashionable is frequently profitable the capitalist economy may end up being the savior of some of these inherently socialist buildings but despite appeals from historians and leading architects it's too late to save Robin Hood Gardens the dream that never was neve barker al jazeera london