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After 40 years of professional oblivion, Neave Brown’s RIBA award is thoroughly deserved

The great architect was caught in the crossfire during a political battle over housing in the 1970s—but has emerged utterly vindicated

By Owen Hatherley  

Rowley Way is part of the Alexandra & Ainsworth Estate. Photo: Jaggery

In 1963, the architect Neave Brown designed a terrace of houses for himself and some friends, organised as a housing co-op, in north London. These houses—cubic and elegant to the street, with a lush communal garden, and large, open-plan rooms—were a small alternative to the way re-housing was being done in London at the time, when terraced streets were replaced with towers in open space.

Impressed, the local authority, under the Borough Architect Sydney Cook, hired Brown to design two…

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