Welcome to Corringham


The reviews

Corringham's modernist exterior was controversial at the time, and its brutalist architectural style still gets mixed reviews. Some of the critics' comments are listed below.

"It is almost impossible to make an objective assessment of housing of this date and type. But it is safe to say that Corringham would rank among the half-dozen or so most interesting blocks of flats built in London in the first half of the 1960s."
[English Heritage, letter about listing Corringham, 1991]

The bold 'brutalist' service column
The bold 'brutalist' service column (click for larger image)

Le Corbusier-syle vents
Le Corbusier-syle vents (click for larger image)

"In Craven Hill Gardens the mood is disturbed by Cottingham [sic], a tall eight-storey concrete block of private flats, by Kenneth Frampton of Douglas Stephen & Partners, 1961-61."
[Nikolaus Pevsner, Bridget Cherry: "The buildings of England: London 3 - North West", Penguin Books, 1991, p.690]

"Corringham is the best of a group of London flats by an interesting young architectural practice (…). It is of exceptional interest for the complex and adventurous planning of the 48 flats and maisonettes within the block, and for the boldness of the external envelope, rare in private flats. (…) No other distinguished blocks of flats were built in this manner, and it remains the best and clearest example of the genre. (…) Though it is radically different from the big stuccoed terraces all around it, Corringham now seems to fit in with its neighbours by virtue of its scale and discipline. It offers the opportunity to live in very light, bright surroundings in the heart of a historic area. Above all, Corringham is interesting because it took an idea devised for public housing and showed that, with a little more careful design, and by using simple materials well, it could be adapted to a successful and luxurious private scheme in a sought-after location."
[English Heritage, listing recommendation report, 1996]

"Corringham was one of the most elaborately planned private blocks of its day, and is perhaps unique in employing the scissor section. (…) Corringham is thus a rare example of its adoption, and architecturally the most articulate. No other private flats were so ambitious in their planning. (…) Frampton's involvement is particularly noteworthy in what is perhaps the firm's most coherent design of the period and certainly their most interesting"
[Department for Culture Media and Sport, official listing documentation, 1998]

"In recent years the approach to Craven Hill Gardens from Leinster Terrace has been despoiled by the erection of a tall, flat-sided piece of 'modernism' slap in this heartland of early 19th century design. At its side it brazenly highlights two hideous ventilators, in the best-worst Corbusier manner. The structure's life, fortunately, is liable to be brief."
[John Wittich, James Dowsing: "Guide to Bayswater; Upstairs and Downstairs", Sunrise Press, 1997 (last edition 2002)]

"Each dwelling, a compact one or two-bedroom unit, spans four levels, each with a half-storey difference in height. The homes are interlinked like a complex puzzle. Corringham also stands out for the carefully detailed curtain wall that betrays nothing of the complex layout inside. Facing the garden each dwelling has a small loggia, which can be accessed from the bedroom(s). The street elevation is entirely smooth and extremely neutral, in stark contrast with the extremely sculptural, almost brutalist detached lift core and stairwell."
[Dick van Gameren: "Efficiency through Complexity", Delft Architectural Studies on Housing (DASH04), "The Residential Floor Plan - Standard and Ideal", 2011, pp.48-57]

Corringham was mentioned in a publication by Ally Capellino, a British designer of bags and accessories with a shop in nearby Portobello. The 2014 designs are inspired by the "simple reduced lines, subtle colour and sparing use of sharp details" of London's brutalist architecture. Corringham is listed as one of the relevant buildings, with a comment about its style and significance by Oliver Wainwright, architecture correspondent of The Guardian at the time of writing: "One of the only built works of prolific architectural historian and theorist Kenneth Frampton, Craven Hill Gardens represents his interest in the 'Neue Sachlichkeit', or New Objectivity – a sense of no-nonsense practicality that originated in Weimar Germany. With an exposed white concrete frame and grey concrete infill, it has a sober rigour to its proportions, while the rear elevation is livened up by recessed balconies and mirror-backed window panels."
[Oliver Wainwright: "Ally Capellino catalogue, Autumn and Winter 2014", 2014, p.22]

The front of Corringham briefly appears as a backdrop in the 2018 BBC series A Very English Scandal set in the 1960s and 1970s.

"...a tall, flat-sided piece of 'modernism'..."
...a tall, flat-sided piece off 'modernism'... (click for larger image)

The overhang at the back of Corringham
The overhang at the back of Corringham (click for larger image)