New exhibitions inspired by Becontree Estate centenary to go on display

Becontree housing estate, Dagenham, London

The Becontree housing estate in Dagenham in 1970. - Credit: Tony Ray-Jones / RIBA Collections

Two exhibitions and a public installation are being launched in central London this month to mark the centenary of the Becontree Estate.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the UK’s largest council estate with a series of art and architecture commissions, accompanied by events and a learning programme.

RIBA head of exhibitions Marie Bak Mortensen said: “Through a variety of projects we aim to form new understandings of the estate by both residents and non-residents.

Pathway (c) Kalpesh Lathigra

Pathway by east London photographer Kalpesh Lathigra, who has produced a new series as part of RIBA Becontree Centenary programme. - Credit: Kalpesh Lathigra / RIBA

“The exhibitions and commissions highlight the role that residents have played in the development of Becontree since 1921 and the changing relationship between the physical space and its community.” 

East London photographer Kalpesh Lathigra has been commissioned to produce new work that will offer a nuanced study of the architecture on the Becontree Estate in 2021. 

The series, entitled The Tree of a Man named Beohha - Becontree Now, will be showcased in the first-floor gallery at RIBA in Portland Place, Westminster, from October 8 to February 12, 2022.

Bow Tie (c) Kalpesh Lathigra

Bow Tie by Kalpesh Lathigra. - Credit: Kalpesh Lathigra / RIBA


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It complements an exhibition with artist Verity-Jane Keefe opening at the Architecture Gallery at RIBA on October 21 this year.

Drawing on her long-term engagement with Becontree as an artist in residence, Ms Keefe has been commissioned to respond to the estate, its history and current community as it looks forward to the next 100 years.

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The exhibition, Lived in Architecture – Becontree Estate at 100, features new artwork by Ms Keefe alongside 33 objects from the RIBA collections.

Pargeted herons (c) Verity-Jane Keefe

Pargeted herons by Verity-Jane Keefe. - Credit: Verity-Jane Keefe / RIBA

Year 10 pupils from Mayesbrook Park School in Becontree contributed to a temporary public installation in Regent’s Park, which opens on October 8 until the end of the month.

A collaboration between the alternative provision school and social enterprise POoR (Power Out of Restriction) Collective, Bringing Home to the Unknown is the culmination of a series of workshops that explored ideas of belonging and activating public spaces.

The commissions are part of the Becontree Centenary partnership project between Create London, Barking and Dagenham Council and RIBA.

Visit https://www.architecture.com/explore-architecture/exhibitions/becontree-centenary for more information.

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