City Crit: Thamesmead with Owen Hatherley

City Crit: Thamesmead with Owen Hatherley


Join architectural critic Owen Hatherley for a tour exploring the pioneering Thamesmead housing estate in south east London. Thamesmead was constructed in the late 1960s as a bold and progressive solution to the capital’s growing housing needs. Occupying a former flood plain next to the River Thames in Kent, the controversial development featured a network of raised walkways connecting living spaces elevated about the ground level and large water features intended to provide scenic amenity and recreational activities.

Following decades of under investment, the area became a symbol for twentieth century architectural failings but it is now benefitting from a critical reappraisal amid an upsurge in interest in ambitious mass housing programmes. Hatherley, who formerly lived in nearby Woolwich, will lead a tour exploring Thamesmead’s many merits and shortcomings, and delving into new controversies surrounding its latest regeneration plans.


2:00pm, Saturday 13 April 2019


3:30pm, Saturday 13 April 2019


We will meet at Abbey Wood Station

Tour Guide:

Owen Hatherley was born in Southampton, England in 1981. He received a PhD in 2011 from Birkbeck College, London, for a thesis which was published in 2016 as The Chaplin Machine – Slapstick, Fordism and the Communist Avant-Garde (Pluto Press).

He writes regularly on architecture, culture and politics for Architects Journal, Architectural Review, The Calvert Journal, Dezeen, the Guardian, the London Review of Books, New Humanist and Prospect. He is the author of Militant Modernism (Zero, 2009), A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain (Verso, 2010), Uncommon – An Essay on Pulp (Zero, 2011), Across the Plaza (Strelka, 2012), A New Kind of Bleak (Verso 2012), which was set to music by the group Golau Glau; Landscapes of Communism (Penguin 2015), The Ministry of Nostalgia (Verso, 2016), Trans-Europe Express (Penguin, 2018) and The Adventures of Owen Hatherley in the Post-Soviet Space (Repeater, 2018).

He also edited and introduced an updated edition of Ian Nairn's Nairn's Towns (Notting Hill Editions, 2013), and wrote texts for the exhibition Brutalust: Celebrating Post-War Southampton, at the K6 Gallery. Between 2006 and 2010 he wrote the blog ‘Sit Down Man, You’re a Bloody Tragedy’;. He is the culture editor of Tribune.