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Designs for New Aylesbury block inspired by Vivienne Westwood tartan suit

Designs for a block on the new Aylesbury Estate redevelopment were inspired by a Vivienne Westwood tartan suit, documents reveal, writes Katherine Johnston…

The papers, uploaded by Southwark Council and created by architects Hawkins\Brown, showed designs for ‘Block 4’ of the new plot.

Illustrations include a figure of a man wearing a Vivienne Westwood tartan design from 2013, for a bit of context.

The proposed buildings will straddle the corner of Portland Street and Albany Road, overlooking Burgess Park.

The designs include a tower block with four separate L-shaped mansion blocks around a courtyard garden.

The tower’s ‘saw-toothed’ brick pattern is described as ‘like a stretched-tartan grid’.

Next to their drawings, the architects explain: “Hawkins\Brown has tried to balance a clear, legible and rational architectural approach with elements of wit and romance.

“Our intention is that residents will instinctively feel a sense of homeliness and affection for the building they will call home.”

The illustrations include concrete balconies and ornate touches like ‘gold anodised aluminium’ and a ‘gold-coloured fascia to catch the light’.

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood found fame as a key figure on the punk scene on the King’s Road in the 1970s.

Born in Cheshire, she lived in an ex-council flat in Clapham for 30 years before moving into a house on Clapham Common that once belonged to navigator Captain Cook’s family.

Southwark Council is working with Notting Hill Housing on the Aylesbury regeneration project to build 3,500 new homes on the site of the Walworth Estate.

The development ran into controversy after leaseholders refused to leave their homes and turned down offers of compensation. A public inquiry into the council’s compulsory purchase order is still on-going.

Seth Rutt, a Partner at Hawkins\Brown, commented: “When developing the designs for Plot 4 in the first development site, Hawkins\Brown used the analogy of fabrics applied to each of the buildings of different tenures around the central courtyard.

“A tower formed part of plot 4, and because of its height and presence, we felt that it should have a deeper, more layered approach. We were inspired by early towers in Chicago and New York, built in brick and stone.  To integrate public art into the building, we introduced cast ornamented columns at the base celebrating local stories in a series of ‘mandala’ patterns.

“For the upper part of the towers, we were inspired by the large oversized tartan patterns used in some of Vivienne Westwood’s suits at the time. These translated into the layers of brick and aluminium in the final tower design.”


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