The area of the estate had been designated for slum clearance and then partly demolished due to German bombing. Spa Green was built by the architect Berthold Lubetkin and received a Grade II* listing for its architectural significance. Lubetkin intended the project as a manifesto for modern architecture.
Political leaders in the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury worked with the radical architect Lubetkin and his practice Tecton. The nearby Finsbury Health Centre – built in 1938 – pointed forward to the future welfare state. Spa Green, first designed in 1938 and developed in 1943 was aimed to fulfil a utopian promise.
Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan laid the foundation stone in July 1946, and the opening ceremonies in 1949 included the planting of a plane tree by Princess Margaret.
Spa Green adopted many features including lifts, central heating, balconies, daylight and ventilation from multiple directions, large entry spaces, and a roof terrace.
Fitted kitchens included slide-away breakfast counters and ironing boards, electrical and gas appliances, and a central waste-disposal system in stainless steel.
Two parallel blocks of eight storeys (Tunbridge House and Wells House) have a central plaza. Sadler House runs in a curve between this plaza and the terrace houses of Rosebery Avenue.
Lubetkin’s design made sure that everyone had a balcony on the street side.
Conceived as public housing, it is now a mixed community of private owners and council tenants, run by a resident-elected management organization.