Denys Lasdun is considered by many to be one of the most important British architects in the last 50 years. Known mainly as the architect of the stunning National Theatre of the South Bank, he was also instrumental in the redevelopment of London after the war by designing many social housing developments. Sulkin House was his first contribution to rebuilding London. Completed in 1958, 15 years after the war on a former bomb-site in Bethnal Green, the short tower stands eight floors high with 24 maisonettes. The wing-like structure is referred to as a ‘cluster block’ which is a theme that Lasdun revisited many times in this work. The hallmarks of his cluster block includes a central tower where the lifts and service utilities are and protruding accommodation ‘wings’ to its sides.
Sulkin House is part of the Greenways Estate, and it is from here that she has been rather shyly peering at us each time we roll past. This is a bold example of Modernist architecture that shuns the repetitive facade of the regular run-of-the-mill London tower blocks.
Compared to the tower blocks we have visited over the years, this stands out in my mind as one of the most compact. The Greenways Estate is on a human scale, no crazy tall towers looming here (those can be found on the opposite side of the road). Despite its association with one of Britain’s most prominent architects, there is no pretence here. Developers haven’t swooped in to turn the place into more piss-taking luxury apartments. Like a lot of east London, things feel a little shabby. Just how we like it.
| Sulkin House Info |
– Architect Denys Lasdun
– 8 floors.
– 25 Maisonettes.
– Grade II listed
– Completed in 1959.
– Part of the Greenways Estate
– Has an identical twin sister, Trevelyan House who is just a stone’s throw away.
– London Borough of Tower Hamlets
| Links For The Curious |
Denys Lasdun died in 2001, the eloquent obituary in the Guardian makes a succinct summary of his time as an architect.