Nye Bevan Commons 1

1. Demolition

For 30 years, from the open spaces of the Hackney Marshes, the west bank of the river Lea was marked by a wall of 5 towers: 70s hi-rise slabs each 20 storeys high.
In the space of 2 years, all but one were gone.

A landscape was blown open. What disappeared were not just the icons of high modernity but a vision of society – it marked the end of the post-war modernity of 'Homes for Heroes', the modernity of the brave new world.

When the towers were built in the 70s, everywhere Modernity looked, it saw itself reflected without contradiction, self-assured in the faith that rational planning would overcome all social problems.
But this faith never touched the deep structure of society, its fault-lines of social division mired in the high rise council block. Here they remained contained. 30 years after they were built, the same tenements were stereotyped as unmanageable. The only solution was demolition.


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