The True Value Of Housing

Acrylic on aluminium
Dimensions: 29.9 x 27.9 x 7.5 cm
Charlie Warde, 2019

This work is concerned with the depletion of our Post War housing stock, the social cleansing of our urban landscape and the erosion of our communities. “The True Value of Housing” is based on a cross section of Trellick Tower’s listed walkway that is scheduled for demolition to make way for housing, very little of which will be affordable. The development, on hold since the tragic fire at nearby Grenfell Tower, will dramatically alter the flow and density of Ernö Goldfinger’s scheme; there was uproar when it was announced that a planned garden would only be open to new private residents.

The distinctive pyramidal cross section, seen from above and represented to scale has been pains- takingly recreated using only artist pigments and acrylic painting mediums (no stones or concrete, just paint). This Brutalist artefact thrusts out of a background matched exactly to Le Corbusier’s ‘Ombre Naturelle Moyenne’, number 32141 from his “Architectural Polychromy”. The cracks on the surface of the tip of this protrusion reveal, not a concrete mixture of cement and aggregates, but a core of gold. Gold is the antithesis to Brutalist architecture. It is ornamental. It serves no function. It has no place in Modernist ideology. Gold is of course complicit in housing because of the value of urban landmass and construction contracts. Gold is also implied in the value of concretes ingredients, the enormous cost to the earth’s resources and environment.