Procrete

South elevation of Hide Tower, Pimlico, London (circa 1962).
At the time the tallest residential tower in the UK, Hide Tower is a 22 storey block of 162 flats. It was built for Westminster City Council by John Laing Construction Co to a design by Stillman and Eastwick-Field. It was constructed using a combination of precast concrete and in-situ concrete elements, using several experimental techniques which were tried and tested during construction and then later applied to other projects across the country.
The footprint of the building adheres to a rigid rectangular plan, with all services and balconies located within the confines of the building line. The modern facilities and spectacular views from the upper floors were well-received by the residents, who were predominantly elderly, when the building opened. It marked a turning point in the history of tower block design and construction in the UK. View high resolution

South elevation of Hide Tower, Pimlico, London (circa 1962).

At the time the tallest residential tower in the UK, Hide Tower is a 22 storey block of 162 flats. It was built for Westminster City Council by John Laing Construction Co to a design by Stillman and Eastwick-Field. It was constructed using a combination of precast concrete and in-situ concrete elements, using several experimental techniques which were tried and tested during construction and then later applied to other projects across the country.

The footprint of the building adheres to a rigid rectangular plan, with all services and balconies located within the confines of the building line. The modern facilities and spectacular views from the upper floors were well-received by the residents, who were predominantly elderly, when the building opened. It marked a turning point in the history of tower block design and construction in the UK.

Artist’s impression of the Idonia Street Flats (Maple House), Deptford, London (circa 1947).
Maple House was built in the late 1940s as one of the first social housing responses to the housing crisis in London after World War II. The 5 storey block of 60 deck access flats contrasts massively with the social housing blocks that were started to be built just 10 years later.

Artist’s impression of the Idonia Street Flats (Maple House), Deptford, London (circa 1947).

Maple House was built in the late 1940s as one of the first social housing responses to the housing crisis in London after World War II. The 5 storey block of 60 deck access flats contrasts massively with the social housing blocks that were started to be built just 10 years later.

The Red Road flats, Glasgow, Scotland (circa 1969).
The Red Road flats complex was one of the most ambitious schemes built by the Glasgow Corporation to tackle the housing crisis in the city created as a result of the slum clearances in the inner city. They were, at the time, the tallest residential blocks in Europe and the estate was planned to house nearly 5,000 people.
The estate fell into decline rapidly, initially due to economic depression bringing about further socio-economic problems. The use of asbestos to protect the unique steel structures of the blocks also caused further issues. The blocks have now been condemned for demolition and the first was brought down today using explosives. View high resolution

The Red Road flats, Glasgow, Scotland (circa 1969).

The Red Road flats complex was one of the most ambitious schemes built by the Glasgow Corporation to tackle the housing crisis in the city created as a result of the slum clearances in the inner city. They were, at the time, the tallest residential blocks in Europe and the estate was planned to house nearly 5,000 people.

The estate fell into decline rapidly, initially due to economic depression bringing about further socio-economic problems. The use of asbestos to protect the unique steel structures of the blocks also caused further issues. The blocks have now been condemned for demolition and the first was brought down today using explosives.

Kemp House, Soho, London (circa 1961).
Set within a maze of narrow streets, the 18 storey block was an unexpected high rise feature in the Soho area of London. It is set on top of a 3 storey slab block of shops and offices. It was designed by Riches and Blythin for Westminster City Council as the first large development in response to London County Council’s demand for mixed-use schemes in central areas. The block was built using a insitu reinforced concrete structure, faced with brick and reconstructed stone. View high resolution

Kemp House, Soho, London (circa 1961).

Set within a maze of narrow streets, the 18 storey block was an unexpected high rise feature in the Soho area of London. It is set on top of a 3 storey slab block of shops and offices. It was designed by Riches and Blythin for Westminster City Council as the first large development in response to London County Council’s demand for mixed-use schemes in central areas. The block was built using a insitu reinforced concrete structure, faced with brick and reconstructed stone.

The Alton Estate, Roehampton, Wandsworth, London (circa 1958).

Additional images showing the construction and details of some of the blocks. Designed by the Housing Division of the London County Council, the estate was constructed as two halves: Alton East, and Alton West. It was completed in 1959.

The slab maisonette blocks took clear inspiration from Le Corbusier, with their pilotis and recessed facade design. The Alton West estate was used more industrialised, precast forms of construction to the earlier Alton East estate, setting a precedent for social housing construction in the UK following World War II, which would soon become dominated by precast construction systems.

Links Street, Kirkcaldy, Scotland (circa 1958).
The Links Street flats were constructed by Wimpey, who also led the direction of the design. Despite significant issues being uncovered during construction (such as the discovery of a mine shaft on the site of one block) requiring design changes, the blocks were still built 16 weeks ahead of schedule. The blocks have T-shaped plans, and contain 47 flats each. View high resolution

Links Street, Kirkcaldy, Scotland (circa 1958).

The Links Street flats were constructed by Wimpey, who also led the direction of the design. Despite significant issues being uncovered during construction (such as the discovery of a mine shaft on the site of one block) requiring design changes, the blocks were still built 16 weeks ahead of schedule. The blocks have T-shaped plans, and contain 47 flats each.

Tower block at Toryglen, Glasgow, Scotland (circa 1958).
The Toryglen flats were designed by L. K. Kresse and built using an unusual technique of no-fines, un-reinforced concrete. The blocks are 10 storeys tall and contains 30 flats each.  View high resolution

Tower block at Toryglen, Glasgow, Scotland (circa 1958).

The Toryglen flats were designed by L. K. Kresse and built using an unusual technique of no-fines, un-reinforced concrete. The blocks are 10 storeys tall and contains 30 flats each. 

The Fitzhugh Estate, Trinity Road, Wandsworth, London (circa January 1956).

Designed by the same team as the Alton East estate, the Fitzhugh Estate is of a very similar design. However, the architects worked closer with the contractors, Wates, who suggested greater use of precasting to speed up construction. Work on the first block began in February 1954 and was completed in September 1955.

The Loughborough Road Estate, Brixton, London (circa January 1956).

Designed by C. G. Weald of London County Council’s Architect’s Department, the estate was still under construction at the time of the photographs being taken. The 31 acre site was redeveloped into nine 11 storey tower blocks, one 6 storey block, fifteen 5 storey blocks, one 3 storey block, with shops on the ground floor, and eight terraces of 2 storey houses, providing a total of around 1,000 homes. The estate has density of 136 persons per acre, particularly high for schemes at the time.

Alton East estate, Wandsworth, London (circa January 1956).

Located within a mile of the Ackroydon Estate, the Alton East estate formed the first phase of the wider Alton Estate. It was designed R. Stjernstedt and Oliver Cox, and built by Kirk & Kirk Ltd..

Unlike the Ackroydon Estate, more accommodation was placed in high rise ‘point’ blocks, upto 11 storeys in height and put in clusters of four or five. There are no four or five storey blocks.