Acclaimed architect Neave Brown, a “pioneer of quality public housing” died following a battle with cancer. Best known for the post-war housing he designed for north London, Brown is the 2018 laureate of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal – an accolade he received in an unusually early ceremony in late 2017, due to his ill health.
Brown was born in 1929 in Utica, New York, before moving to the UK as a teenager. He studied at the Architectural Association in London, before taking up a post at Camden Council, where he designed his best known project – the Alexandra Road estate. The eight-storey housing scheme boasts a striking stepped formation, with an avenue running through its centre and elevated walkways above.
Brown was revealed as the winner of the RIBA Royal Gold Medal at a time when the standard of social housing in the UK was very much in question, following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire and the then-imminent demolition of Robin Hood Gardens. Other projects include a range of low-rise high-density housing schemes – one of which he and his wife Janet made home, the Dunboyne Road estate. He also designed housing projects in both the Netherlands and Italy.