Rory Hyde 

A Home for All: Six Experiments in Social Housing

V&A, London, 2018

Co-curated with Shumi Bose, Ella Kilgallon, and Justine Sambrook


The challenge of providing ‘a home for all’ is one that has faced governments and architects for over a century. This display presents six pioneering projects, each demonstrating a different experiment in social housing design, from a tower block that up-ended the terraced street, to a DIY kit that encouraged residents to design their own homes.

All of these schemes were commissioned by local authorities, showing the crucial role of the state in providing housing. As the UK faces an unprecedented crisis of housing availability and affordability, what can we learn from these historic projects?

On display are original architectural drawings, photographs, and models, alongside quotes from residents, architects and stakeholders selected from the archives. It also includes archival and contemporary protest material showing the political and social backdrop to social housing.

Together, these projects show that the idea of ‘a home for all’ should not be dismissed as a utopian dream, but is an urgent and achievable future.

Projects featured:

Spa Green, London, by Berthold Lubetkin of Tecton for the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury. Designed 1938, built 1946-49

Keeling House, London, by Denys Lasdun of Fry, Drew, Drake and Lasdun for Bethnal Green Metropolitan Borough Council. Designed 1955, built 1957-59

Alexandra Road Estate, London, by Neave Brown of the Camden Council Architects’ Department. Designed 1972, built 1978

Byker Estate, Newcastle, by Ralph Erskine for Newcastle City Council. Designed 1968, built 1969-82

Primary Support Structure and Housing Assembly Kits (PSSHAK), London, by Nabeel Hamdi and Nicholas Wilkinson of the Greater London Council Architects’ Department. Designed and built 1971 – 1979

Lion Green Road by Mary Duggan Architects for Brick By Brick (Croydon Council). Designed 2017, construction ongoing

Presented by the V&A+RIBA Architecture Partnership.