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Death and Afterlife of Robin Hood Gardens

Part 2 Dissertation 2019
Karolina Kaminskaite
University of Sheffield | UK
Research Question:
In the context of conservationists’ increasing ambitions, what conservation lessons can be learned from the demolition and the salvaging of a three-story fragment of the estate?

Propelled by the author’s interest and experience in working with existing fabric, the study takes an in-depth look at the recent demolition of Robin Hood Gardens and the V&A’s decision to retain a fragment of the structure. Identifying this as an example of a new conservation theory Jorge Otelo-Pairos has dubbed ‘Experimental Preservation’ this paper evaluates the success of the experiment while opening up a broader debate about heritage, preservation, conservation, museology and the potential consequences this approach might have to the future of conservation practices.

While Rem Koolhaas may not be wrong in saying that preservationists’ ambitions are increasing, the case study examined in this paper is not an answer to the so-called museumification of our cities. The paper concludes that, in this particular manifestation, experimental preservation should be used as the last resort when all other options have been exhausted, especially when the bulldozers start threatening other examples of 20th-century architecture and social housing schemes.

Karolina Kaminskaite

Jo Lintonbon
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