15 Aug 2017 – 20 Aug 2017
All events are free and open to all
The Architects for Social Housing (ASH) collective take up residence in the ICA Upper Galleries, using it as a collaborative working space. ASH are exhibiting their designs and work, including a map of London’s existing estate regenerations, photographs of estates and campaigns by L.G. and Alessia Gammarotta, as well as work by Architectural Workers at public open days on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 August. Working with other groups and organisations, they host informal discussions about different aspects of the housing crisis at 7pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of that week.
As an ongoing presence, the group embodies the application of cultural practice within social activism. Established in 2015, ASH is a working collective of architects, urban designers, engineers, surveyors, planners, filmmakers, photographers, web designers, artists, writers and housing campaigners operating with developing ideas under set principles.
With the dramatic increase in economic disparity across the UK, there is a heightened need to find sustainable solutions to the housing 'crisis'. ASH’s work responds to a lack of support for social housing and the communities they home. First among the principles they work to is the conviction that increasing the housing capacity on existing council estates, rather than redeveloping them as luxury apartments, is a more sustainable solution to London’s housing needs than the demolition of social housing, enabling the continued existence of the communities they house.
ASH offers support, advice and expertise to residents who feel their interests and voices are increasingly marginalised by local councils or housing associations during the so-called 'regeneration' process. They see their primary responsibility as being to existing residents—tenants and leaseholders alike—but are also committed to finding viable alternatives to estate demolition that are in the interests of the wider London community.
Over the past two years ASH has designed alternatives to demolition for the Knight’s Walk, West Kensington, Gibbs Green, Central Hill and Northwold estates, and is currently working with the Patmore Estate co-operative. ASH has written over a hundred articles on various aspects of UK housing policy and practice, including more than a dozen case studies of estate regeneration, plus extended critiques of the UK Government’s Housing and Planning Act and the Greater London Authority’s Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration.
Co-ops for London Tuesday 15, 7pm
Co-ops for London explain the basic principles of housing co-operatives and how you can help to set up a housing cooperative in London. They present their report Co-operate Not Speculate, arguing that the housing co-operative model offers a viable alternative because tenants manage and own their properties collectively, helping to keep rents low and tenancies secure.
Housing policies that prioritise financial value over social value have led to the growth of pseudo-public housing associations and Tenant Management Organisations that in reality offer limited tenant involvement and are contributing to the social cleansing of London via the introduction of insecure tenancies and rising rents. Co-ops for London is part of the London Cooperative Housing Group (LCHG) and campaigns for more housing cooperatives in London.
Urban Myth: A Workshop by Achilles! Fanzine Wednesday 16 May, 7pm
An urban myth is defined as 'a humorous or horrific story or piece of information circulated as though true,' a glitch of perception which mutates and becomes a caricature of reality, consumed as fact. In our world of fake news and perpetual storytelling, a few do the writing and many do the reading. The stories are traditional in their impulse to create a baddy, a figure of the 'other', and social housing and those who need it have been vilified: the architecture a source of crime and isolation, the residents 'Council Housed And Violent.'
This workshop is a space to challenge such narratives and create alternative media made by those who have experienced and care about social housing. Achilles! fanzine invites participants to engage in a critical analysis of representations of social housing and create individual zines in response, using collage and drawing throughout.
The session is led by Lilah Francis, project director of Achilles!, a fanzine made with some of the residents of the Achilles estate in New Cross, South-East London, under threat of demolition by Lewisham council.
Grenfell Tower fire report follow-up meeting Thursday 17, 7pm
ASH lead a follow-up meeting examining their recent report on the Grenfell Tower
ASH Exhibition opening event Saturday 19, 7pm – 10pm
Live music and discussion marking the opening of the ASH exhibition