Street-making makes a comeback at Portbello Square

Re/making The Street, a major exhibition at The Building Centre, examines contemporary street-making and discovers why traditional London streets are making a comeback at Catalyst’s Portobello Square in Kensington.

The ageing of the buildings, combined with changing demographics and evolving social theories has led to the current view that post war estates have “failed”.  Many are now facing demolition as partial or total rebuilding usually takes precedence over refurbishment. In planning what replaces them, there is a balancing act between providing sufficient numbers of new homes and creating places that people will want to live in.

These issues are addressed in Re/Making The Street, curated by The Built Environment Trust and is part of the London Festival of Architecture.. This free exhibition features as its centrepiece an installation that deconstructs the design and planning behind one new street which has been created as part of the regeneration of Wornington Green estate in Kensington by Catalyst Housing.

Visitors get to walk through a scale model of Bonchurch Road which encapsulates the issues behind making new streets dense enough to meet our housing needs yet healthy spaces with flourishing, cohesive communities.

“It is evident that London needs to be densified, but high-rise may not be the solution. Many post-war estate redevelopments disrupted the most efficient use of space by rupturing the street plan. Urban designers and planners are increasingly looking to the successful Victorian mid-rise developments which are among the more dense housing in London in terms of dwellings per hectare,” said Colin Tweedy, Chief Executive of The Built Environment Trust.

“Bonchurch Road demonstrates what a London street in the early 21st Century can be by providing more homes, being mixed tenure and reconnecting the former estate back into the street pattern of the surrounding neighbourhood. It is a particular achievement to do this in a high value neighbourhood with no loss of social housing and demonstrates the key role housing associations can play in providing more homes for London.” said Tom Titherington, Executive Director of Business Development and Market Intelligence at Catalyst Housing.

Details about the exhibition

Re/Making The Street. 17 June – 29 July
The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London. WC1E 7BT