A programme of art, architecture and infrastructure to mark the centenary of the UK’s biggest council housing estate


Nimtim architects

Squaring the Corners


Nimtim have designed a set of three new public squares that will transform some of the neglected ‘corner plots’ on the Becontree Estate, into places for people to meet, rest, grow and play.

These groups of corner plots have strong geometrical presence: one is square in shape, one round, and one triangular. The public squares will be the first of their kind on the Becontree Estate, creating a space that is in-part wild, intimate and social. Residents are invited to enter them and to take ownership of them. The designs borrow from the existing geometries, colours and materials within the estate.

Nimtim have collaborated with artist Katie Schwab, whose work on crafted interiors and textiles on the estate will inform Nimtim’s locally-sourced material palette and the domestic, welcoming scale of these new spaces.

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.