|Work Type:||new built|
|Number of Storeys:||4-storey, 8-storey|
|Type of Building:||cluster|
Alexandra Road exemplifies Neave Brown's notion of flexibility. As opposed to the many proponents of flexible housing who engender flexibility through open space or loose planning, flexibility for Brown is the opposite of free space. Free space may be one way of achieving flexibility but it demands a lot of space, and in public housing this is not available. Instead Brown argues for a developed understanding of how people may use a house over time, and then designs for those scenarios. Flexibility here is about explicitness, a freedom achieved through prescription. Brown's buildings develop specific solutions that can nevertheless be adapted to changing social use.
Alexandra Road, as well as his housing on Winscombe Street in London, are examples for this way of thinking. Both projects are based around the notion of zones, and both develop the concept of a ground floor that can be cut off, either through plan or a separate entrance, and handed over to a different use or user. Bedrooms are downstairs and living rooms upstairs, which decreases the space needed for circulation. In his own house in Winscombe Street, the three vertical zones of children on the lower ground floor (with its own entrance), family on the upper ground floor and adults on the top floor has proved remarkably resilient over time, the lowest zone having been used variously as kids bedrooms, teenage apartment and (now) artists studio.
Freear, A., 'Alexandra Road: the last great social housing project', AA Files, 1995, pp. 35-46.
Henny, A., 'Camden, Last of the Big Spendersí', RIBA Journal, 1980, pp. 43-45.
Maxwell, R., 'Alexandra Road: housing, school and community centre, Camden', Architectural Review, 1979, pp. 76-92.
McKean, C., and T. Jestico, Guide to Modern Building in London, London: Academy, 1976.
Sharp, D., 'Controversy in Camden', Building, 238, 1980, pp. 38-43. 'Striking design for concrete housing at Alexandra Road, Camden', Concrete, 12, 1978, p. 29.