HONOUR THE MEMORY OF MODERNIST ARCHITECTURE & MODERN LIVING – Save Neave Brown's heritage.
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It was with sincere grief that we responded to the news of the death of Neave Brown this week. He's one of the people who changed the face of Camden, bringing to life a more modern borough in which many of us now enjoy living and working.
The American-born architect is responsible for some of the greatest Council Estates in our nation. The specialist in mondernist housing is also the only architect who has had all his UK work listed. Far too long forgotten, it was very recently the public recognized him again. Last October he won the Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
He lived in Gospel Oak, where he was much more than that though, he was an important part of the community. He lived alongside of his first project of that kind, the Dunboyne Estates on Fleet Rd, which is one of the greatest examples of modernist housing.
This Estate, where a strong sense of community still exists, was a modern version of the much loved Victorian homes that once stood everywhere here. While the intimacy of those houses was retained, the homes and grounds around them were enhanced with the openness of modernity. Wonderful terraces and small gardens invited the residents to meet and to interact with each other. They also offered privacy, if that was what you wanted. On his Estate one could live "in the countryside", while standing in the middle of the city.
We should be inspired by Neave’s work, seeing it as a challenge to be courageous again in the sort of architecture we commission for our estates and other groundbreaking new buildings.
We call on the Council to take action to ensure that Neave Brown’s heritage in Camden is protected, so that we all remember the possibilities that architecture can offer - helping us to shape our communities and to build a better life for local people
We would like Camden to:
1. Rename the area in front of Dunboyne Estate, towards Fleet Rd, Neave Brown Place.
2.a. Install a memorial plaque here, or a bronze of his famous Estates.
2.b. Ensure that Neave Brown's home on the Dunboyne Estate is protected. Work with the community to find a way of honouring his legacy and inspiring future generations.
- Set up a gallery run by volunteers to remind people of Neave Brown and his work. Similar to the Isokon Gallery, another famous architectural monument in the immediate neighborhood.
- Set up a Neave Brown scholarship to enable young people who are studying architecture to live here and be inspired, while they undertake their studies.
We send our condolences to Neave Brown's family and friends.
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