Alexander Jones
Reviving the Block
The architectural refurbishment of post-war modernist social housing
As the symbols of modernism's vision to provide mass equitable housing are left to crumble under waves of disinterested governance, how can architecture provide utility to individuals and revitalise communities forgotten in the sweeping drive for progress? Rebuilding the block was an investigation into social housing refurbishment in Europe and its applications to the Sydney context, more specifically Matavai and Turanga towers in the Waterloo estate.While not shiny, sexy, and new, refurbishment presents the opportunity to maintain and protect diverse communities within Sydney city. Refurbishment of social housing often provides a more economically feasible, environmentally sustainable, community centred solution to knocking down and rebuilding social housing. The outcome achieves this while also maintaining better health and urban outcomes for existing communities. The widespread vilification and misrepresentation of social housing minimizes the crucial role it plays within a city, and this must be re-examined if we are to maintain urban areas not wholly defined by economic forces.