The Tower Hamlets Custodians

George Kelly

Project description

Following World War II, the mass production of residential estates revolutionised urban living for the population of London. These estates suffer from neglect and inadequate maintenance, leading to their demolition or refurbishment for private sale homes. 

The proposal aims to rethink estate management in Tower Hamlets borough by establishing a new organisation, The Tower Hamlets Custodians, and is tested on the Cranbrook Estate designed by Berthold Lubetkin in 1963. The initiative offers residents accredited trade apprenticeships leading to employment as a Custodian. 

The design of a new civic hub and routes through the estate take readings from Lubetkin’s love of Caucasian rugs. The hub building is a place for residents to directly communicate with the council, report repairs, and participate in democratic decision-making about the future of their estates. Through upskilling the residents and education in retrofit prototyping, the scheme fosters an improved quality of life through active custodianship and a brighter future for the borough’s housing.

Site location
Tower Hamlets

George Kelly

Workshop Interior

George Kelly

Civic Centre Plan

George Kelly

Civic Hub Exterior

George Kelly

Site Axonometric

George graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2019, where he discovered how historical conflict within cities provides opportunity for socially engaged urbanism. Inspired by Alvar Aalto, he developed a passion for cultural architectural tectonics and humble architecture that seamlessly integrates with its surroundings.

Having spent the last four years at Buckley Gray Yeoman in Shoreditch, George has developed a specialism in retrofit design, particularly when it comes to workplace architecture. His experience working with existing structures has nurtured a profound appreciation for thoughtful design while infusing each project with the joy of aesthetic detail.

Thriving on diverse cultures, George eagerly explores new territories. From Russia to Japan, he draws inspiration from captivating environments, savouring local cuisines, dynamic urban atmospheres, and distinctive regional wildlife.