A programme of art, culture and new infrastructure to reimagine the future of the UK’s biggest council housing estate


Nimtim architects

Squaring the Corners


nimtim architects have been commissioned by Create London and the Royal Institute of British Architects to look at ways to work with residents to improve a series of amenity green corner plots on the Becontree Estate. The project is one of five projects commissioned by Create and funded by Barking & Dagenham council’s Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy (a charge on development in the borough to help fund infrastructure such as playgrounds and public spaces).

Three sites on the Becontree Estate were selected following consultation with council officers, senior members and ward members. Nimtim and Create ran a community engagement day in late May 2021 where they presented design ideas to residents through specially made models of each site and gathered their feedback. They have also engaged with residents through school and community workshops, door knocking, letter drops and via the Citizens’ Alliance Network (CAN) webpage, where residents can find more information about the project and get in touch.

Nimtim architects was founded in 2014 by Nimal Attanayake and Timothy O’Callaghan (Nimi and Tim). They founded the practice following Nimi’s diagnosis and recovery from cancer, which inspired their decision to create a ‘relatable, approachable and supportive’ practice, committed to ‘a healthy work/life balance’ and ‘adding social value’.

Katie Schwab works with installation, textiles, furniture and moving image, to explore personal and social histories of education, migration and labour. Her research focuses on domestic textiles and civic design from the inter- and postwar period and, in particular, the underrepresented work of women artists and émigré designers. Embedded in the communities and contexts in which she works, Katie’s long-term projects incorporate collaborative workshops, oral history interviews, archival research and craft-based learning.

Co-commissioned by Create London and the Royal Institute of British Architects for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.