Thursday, August 09, 2007

Brunswick Centre - Bloomsbury

On the surface, Brunswick Centre looks nice. Filled with upmarket chains including Waitrose, Oasis, Hobbs, Boots and Baby Gap, the shopping is certainly better than what is usually offered on housing estates.

It hasn't always been this way. Brunswick was one of those modernist experiments architects were fond of in the 1960s. Patrick Hodgkinson designed it as a private development, part shopping centre, part cosmopolitan housing, but no one would buy the flats. They were small, many considered the vast concrete structures ugly, and the money ran out before the buildings were painted. The developers kept the shopping centre and sold the residential part of the building to Camden Council to use as council housing. Under council management, the building mouldered. So did the shopping centre.

In 2002 renovation started. It took four years to renovate and fill the abandoned shops to current standard.

I have to wonder, though, is it just putting makeup on a pig?

The Brunswick

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