A guide to Arden Estate

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London is a city filled with areas of incredible variety and diversity, with rich slices of life on display everywhere you go. From lavish mansions to more modest properties, London really does have it all – and the culture and character of each district of the city differs as wildly as its variant landscapes. In this blog we’ll be taking a closer look at Arden Estate, including things to see and do in the local area.

What is Arden Estate?

Arden Estate is located in the Hoxton East & Shoreditch constituency of London, designated as an urban development, which began construction in the late 1960s. The estate is an example of ‘brutalist’ architecture, and considered by many to be one of London’s most striking examples of the form. The estate was designed by architect Leonard Manasseh, and represents one of his largest ever housing projects. Work on the Arden Estate began in 1968, and completed in 1972. There is a lot of similarly striking architecture in the local area, particularly within Hackney – making this a haven for design fans of this particular period who are staying at hotels near Shoreditch.

Exploring the Design

Brutalist architecture became a popular style between the 1950s and the 1970s, and sprang out of the wider architectural style of modernist design. The term was coined as a result of the materials which brutalism often incorporated, including heavy use of brickwork and sharp edges. In keeping with the common uses of this style of building, the Arden Estate was created at a time when brutalist structures were being used for institutional housing and government buildings not only in the UK but across much of the English speaking world, including the US, Canada and Australia. The influence of brutalism also spread further afield to territories such as Japan, India and the Philippines.

What inspired Arden Estate?

Arden Estate uses many of the key distinguishing features which mark out a brutalist building. There’s detailed brickwork and concrete on display, with minimal fuss and frills, giving a distinctly utilitarian appearance. Leonard Manasseh was one of the most significant proponents of brutalism in the UK, inspired by a bold, sculptural style which he applied to many of his own masterworks. Arden itself is a fine example of both the brutalist style and Manasseh’s own style combined, making it a great place to view for guests staying at the Montcalm hotel Shoreditch.

Arden Estate’s Unique Style

The estate itself is supported by thin brick piers at the facade, with visible elevated brick blocks and single, rectangular-shaped windows completing the look. The rear of the building is comprised of venting in a horizontal style, broken only by the irregularly shaped refuse chutes. While the style of Arden Estate is certainly not to everyone’s taste, it is one of the city’s most significant brutalist finds by a master of the craft, and merits a visit for this reason alone.