The Fourth Estate
The popularity of the suburbs effectively showcases the difference between what architecture students are taught to admire and what most people actually prefer.
The writer J B Priestley’s in his 1934 work English Journey marked out the key states of Britain‘s existence: Firstly ‘an old England of ministers and manor houses’, then ‘nineteenth century industrial England’ and finally, ‘the third England...which is essentially suburban’. The Fourth Estate is a testbed for a new template of British housing, which draws from the architectural traditions that preceded it: The cultivation and often artificial construction of the countryside, the convenience and contradictions of the suburbs and the variety of the multifaceted urban environment.
The scheme is sited between Pinner and Rayners Lane in North West London and seeks to demonstrate how current contradictions, subtly woven into the fabric of Metroland, can be exaggerated. The Estate’s existence as an ‘in-between state’ can be manipulated to produce more exciting and unexpected spaces. The urban to rural gradient of the masterplan’s arrangement facilitates are three distinct housing arrangements, as well as a high-street, an art gallery, sports courts, cafes, corner shops and a small petting zoo. These components are arranged in a multi-layered landscape of tightly packed structures, sprawling landscapes, meandering footpaths and unexpected diversions across a tiered terrain.
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