Tower Hamlets Homes plans to replace windows in Lubetkin’s famous Sivill House threaten to “destroy the integrity of the composition” says leading architectural authority on Lubetkin’s work John Allan, The Twentieth Century Society and residents of the block.
The landlord’s submitted proposals for the new windows include raising the ‘transom’ (the horizontal aluminium bar that divides the bottom pane and upper windows) by 30cm/12 inches. They claim, this is to improve the safety of the building. However residents claim window’s safety has never been an issue in its 53 year history and their suggestions for child-safe window locks were rejected by Tower Hamlets Homes.
On the proposed changes, Allan said “…The original window frame proportions – as with all else in Lubetkin’s designs – were very carefully considered, such that the transoms very deliberately align with the balcony rails across the façade….”
“…Raising the height of these transoms will violate this relationship and result in a disturbing discordance, throwing the whole elevation into disarray…to alter this ‘dialogue’ would be to fundamentally destroy the integrity of the composition…”
“…It should be recognised that Sivill House is unique in Lubetkin’s oeuvre…and this refurbishment project should be approached with exactly the same degree of conscientiousness as would be expected in the conservation of any other designated heritage asset…”
“If Building Control have any safety concerns…they should be addressed by other means internally…rather than by any alteration to the essential geometry of the exterior façade.”
Sivill House Residents and the CTRA are calling on local residents to object to the plans in order preserve Lubetkin’s legacy of which they are very proud. The deadline for objections is 14 November 2019.
***UPDATE*** – THE DEADLINE FOR THE PLANNING CONSULTATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 25 NOVEMBER 2019.