“Channel 4’s Aylesbury estate ident gets a revamp – starring the residents”, Christopher Beanland
In: The Guardian, 14 March 2014
The Aylesbury itself is one of London’s largest estates and its long construction throughout the 1960s and 70s was overseen by architects Derek Winch and Hans Peter Trenton of Southwark council. Full of concrete walkways, it is often dubbed “brutalist” – its precast panels don’t have quite the same stylishness as Trellick Tower or the Barbican, but its lot has improved in recent years thanks to the Creation Trust’s community-level regeneration. Like its neighbour the Heygate estate, the Aylesbury is entering a long-term rebuilding project, but unlike the Heygate, this is being done in phases and residents can stay within its borders as the work goes on.
Both estates were built to provide ordinary people with extraordinary homes – as a new wave of blogs such as Municipal Dreams and Love London Council Housingtry to show. This attitude can be seen anew in London estates that are being sensitively redeveloped, such as Maiden Lane in Camden. The Peabody Trust recently unveiled an imaginative shortlist of designs for rebuilding its social housing in Hackney and Islington.
But in a city constantly reshaped by the forces of gentrification and the marketplace, old prejudices remain, which the new ident aims to erase. “We saw the original ident being shown before Benefits Street – which we felt was yet another dig,” says Charlotte Benstead of Creation Trust. “The residents have complained for years – but Channel 4 has never listened before.” Social historian Lynsey Hanley has used the term “the wall in the mind” to describe how marginalised council estate tenants can feel; this new ident aims to break those walls down and rebuild community pride. “I’ve been embarrassed to say it’s where I live,” admits Donna Grant, an Aylesbury resident for 30 years. “But I’d be happy to admit to living here if Channel 4 ditches the old ident and shows ours.”