Architecture of the De Beauvoir Town Estate: A discussion between Wilson Briscoe and Owen Hatherley



You can listen to an audio recording of this event here

De Beauvoir Estate was designed by Burley Associates between 1963-68, with the Rose Lipman Library and Community Centre being the final phase of the development, completed in 1975. Taking place within the former children’s library of the Rose Lipman Building, the discussion aims to look at the design and legacy of the estate: the political climate that it was built in, the pressures that helped shape its current form and how the estate is now read in relation to recent housing developments that surround it. De Beauvoir Estate shares common materials with several neighbouring new developments, for instance brick infill and wooden panelling. Have these materials saved the estate from the demolition that occurred to many of its concrete contemporaries?

Despite the planning of the estate which includes landscaped communal areas and public thoroughfares between buildings, De Beauvoir Estate has a high density of dwellings. Considering the current housing crisis, could the model of De Beauvoir Estate be one that is worth reappraisal?

The evening welcomes local residents to reflect on their experience of the design of the estate, in discussion with current users of the Rose Lipman Building and the speakers.


Wilson Briscoe is an architect based in London who practiced at Burley Associates during the design De Beauvoir Estate in the 1960s. Briscoe currently lectures at The North London University of the Third Age, on the Shape of London.

Owen Hatherley is a writer and journalist based in London who writes on the political aesthetics of architecture, urbanism and popular culture for a variety of publications, including Building Design, Frieze, the Guardian and the New Statesman. Hatherley will be discussing the layout and allocation of space within the estate in comparison to neighbouring new developments.

Event programmed by Graham Reid.