The best buildings in Britain

I am being sent information about the Best Buildings in Britain of the last 100 years.

This includes an exhibition currently on at the Royal Academy of Arts and organised with the Twentieth Century Society.  See their web site https://

In some ways I think we should think ourselves lucky that there is no exhibition of buildings given the Carbuncle Award – seeing how often Greenwich has made that list recently – But nevertheless – Greenwich has two entries in the 100 best list, over the years.

One of these entries is for 1915 – and then it wasn’t in Greenwich, but in Woolwich. That is the very wonderful Well Hall Estate. Glad that local housing for the workforce has got a look in here somewhere and that its not all about elites.

The other Greenwich site in the exhibition is, of course, the 1999 winner – our soon to be junked Sainsburys in Peartree Way.  It is also dreadful to hear about the death of its architect, Paul Hinkin, so soon after plans for its demolition were announced and his speech at our Planning Board to try and save it.

Have a look at what they say on the Twentieth Century Society web site – http://www,

The write up includes a wonderful aeriel picture and says that the store ‘fits neatly into two dominant meta-narratives of the late 20th century shopping as destination experience and the move to sustainable building’.  ….’it was the first store to be awarded the BREEM excellent rating … it consumed 50% less energy than a conventional supermarket’.   They go on ‘its distinctive zoomorphic shape highlights landscaping by the Woodland Trust’  … ‘the highlight of supermarket design in the 20th century’.

They list out all the various approvals – shortlisted for the Stirling Prize. … chosen by the Design Council as a Millennium Product …. RIBA Journal Sustainability award …  Design Museum Sense Award  …. Retail Week Design of the Year  …. Channel 4 Building of the Year, People’s Choice 2000.

So – hey ho – as they point out it is about to be pulled down and replaced by the sort of boring box for IKEA which it was designed to challenge.   The little eco-park at the back is going to be junked and replaced with a roof.  English Heritage of declined to list it.  (hmmm).

So – at least no one seems to have suggested pulling down the Well Hall Estate recently.

A couple of codicils

1. I have also been sent an angry press cutting from the Wharf about Tower Hamlets about not being consulted by Greenwich Planners about IKEA’s plans.  They are worried about the impact on the roads.


2. Why have we had no information yet about plans to sell off the Rose Garden in Blackwall Lane for housing. What is going on??

MUST APOLOGISE  – when I wrote this I missed another Greenwich borough building in the book.  This is Hallgate, tucked away on the private Cator Estate in Blackheath.   I know the flats well and have friends living in an adjacent, and identical, block.   It is the entry for 1958 – when there was still a belief in human scale housing – and then in the old Met. Borough of Greenwich where the Council backed some good architecture (and I am not going to mention anything about later amalgamations with other Met. boroughs)

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