April 22nd, 2015
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In the Making: Karakusevic Carson at the RIBA

Opening in the same week that David Cameron announced Conservative Party plans to give housing association tenants the ‘right to buy’ their homes, an exhibition of new social housing schemes designed by Karakusevic Carson Architects has opened at the RIBA.

While the debate over the housing crisis rages on, there are plenty of political promises and targets to build more housing, with affordable housing particularly in the spotlight. Meanwhile, a number of pioneering councils such as Hackney, Camden and Tower Hamlets are investing in the future of their boroughs by developing their land to house the people of London. After a 25 year council housing hiatus, this new wave is seeing design savvy councils working with leading architects to deliver high quality mixed tenure housing.

Karakusevic Carson Architects are housing specialists. ‘In The Making’ presents ten projects that demonstrate that practice’s skill and adaptability in designing individual buildings, houses and apartments through to complex estate regeneration masterplans. Beautiful crafted models and drawings give a clear insight into the thought and method applied to an array of different design briefs and sites. An accompanying social housing timeline and primer on its history, give depth and context to the exhibition.

Paul Karakusevic is a strong advocate of councils using the huge brownfield land banks at their disposal to make good the housing building deficit that has increased since the early 1980s. Councils are already engaging with architects like Karakusevic Carson to harness their skill in unlocking the practical problems of build quality and cost efficiency as well as the social problems created by poor quality residential environments.

One of the completed projects in the exhibition is Bridport House in Hackney, which was the first social housing development to be built in the borough for 40 years. Karakusevic Carson Architects designed the scheme in close collaboration with residents, meeting over 50 times to ensure the finished building had strong grassroots support. In the words of one resident “We’re part of it. People look at this building and think it’s all for sale but it’s not – it’s pure social housing. And we’re proud of that.”

 ‘In the Making’ runs from 10 April 2015 to 17 May 2015 at the RIBA Practice Space, 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD

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