Georgian Precedents, Modern Realities

Stirling’s Southgate Housing project was built between 1967 and 1976 as a part of Runcorn New Town, near Liverpool, England. Its proportions, its sequence of squares, and its abstracted-colonnade main façades were based on the Georgian precedents of the cities of Bath and Edinburgh. But its raised walkways were to cause problems, as at many other public-housing projects of this era.

Always an innovator with materials, Stirling used colorful GRP (glass-reinforced plastic) panels at Runcorn. It was one way of providing architectural interest in the project’s repetitive elements.

One of the Georgian-style squares.

Due in large part to poor management, the Southgate estate became socially unstable. Families moved out, houses stood empty, and crime surged. The housing was demolished by 1992, and replaced by low-density suburban housing.

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