Village Housing in the Tropics

Author: Jane Drew
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135018219
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Tropical Architecture, although now a highly contested and debated term, is the name given to European modern architecture that has been modified to suit the climatic and sometimes cultural context of hot countries. These hot countries were labelled ‘the tropics’ and were often European colonies, or countries that had recently won their independence. Fry & Drew’s book, written on the threshold of the end of the British Empire, was one of the first publications to offer practical advice to architects working in ‘the tropics’, based on the empirical studies they conducted whilst based in British West Africa during the Second World War. The book with its numerous illustrations, plans and easy to follow explanations became a key manual for all architects working in hot climates, and in particular those tasked with designing dwellings and small town plans. Although the Royal Engineers and Schools of Tropical Medicine had long been designing and campaigning for better planning, improved sanitation and had for example developed methods of cross-ventilation, this book became an instant hit. ‘Tropical Architecture’ suddenly bloomed into its own distinct canon, and by 1955 the Architectural Association had set up a course specialising in tropical architecture, led for a short time by Fry. Village Housing in the Tropics had a significant impact when it was written on a profession that had had little guidance on working in hot climates and on architecture students and universities who began to modify their courses to accommodate different conditions. Although from a post-colonial perspective many scholars now associate this architecture as being a continuation of the Imperial mission, this does not reduce the significance of the publication. Indeed, Tropical Architecture is regarded as being the forerunner to ‘green architecture’, developing passive low energy buildings that are tailored to suit their climate and built with local materials.

Ghent Planning Congress 1913

Author: William Whyte
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134486731
Format: PDF, ePub
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The Ghent congress on town planning was the first genuinely international conference to address all aspects of civic life and design. Attended by representatives of 22 governments and 150 cities, as well as by hundreds of architects, planners, politicians, and scientists, it marked the culmination of a series of events which helped to form the world of town planning at the start of the twentieth century. Ghent illustrates three key themes for the history of town planning. First, the transactions of the congress include papers from some of the most significant theorists and practitioners of the period, such as Patrick Abercrombie, Augustin Rey, Raymond Unwin, and Joseph Stübben. Secondly, the congress as a whole reflects just how global the business of town planning had become by 1913: papers and exhibits included studies of colonial projects as well as European designs. The delegates themselves provide wonderful evidence of a transnational process at work. Finally, the text brilliantly illuminates the way in which town planning was critically linked to other reformist movements of the era. The whole event, like the International Union of Cities that it spawned, was the product of the peace movement. Even as war draw nearer, the International Union was being spoken of as a future world government. Significantly, one of the organisers of the event – Henri La Fontaine - won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1913. The Premier Congrès international et exposition comparée des villes is a major publication, but it is one that is now almost impossible to obtain. This republication, a century after this seminal event, will be considerable interest not only to those who work on town-planning, but also transnational historians and writers on the peace movement more generally.

People and Planning

Author: The Skeffington Committee
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 113447105X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The Skeffington Committee was appointed in 1968 to look at ways of involving the wider public in the formative stages of local development plans. It was the first concerted effort to encourage a systematic approach to resident participation in planning and the decision-making process, in contrast to the entirely top down process created by the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act. The origins of the Skeffington Report lay in the 1965 publication by the Planning Advisory Group of The Future of Development Plans, which recommended changes to the planning system to include much greater public participation. It called for all plans to be publicly debated in full, with the opportunity for representations to be made throughout the entire preparation process. There was also a growing realisation of the impact of the American planning experience and a growth of interest in the concept of participatory democracy as opposed to representative democracy. However, the immediate impact of the Skeffington Committee was limited. It was criticised as being too ambiguous and as encouraging nothing more than greater publicity and as ‘educating’ residents from the planners perspective. ‘Participation’ was inadequately defined and the Report was seen to simply promote a more efficient system by convincing people of the virtues of planning. Local authorities used and undermined the idea of participation to simply speed up the planning process by giving their decisions a seal of legitimacy. Technocrats and local authorities simply subverted the ambiguities of the Report for their own purposes. Yet this is to underestimate the long term impact of the underlying principles first expressed in the Skeffington Report. It has been a long and tortuous process and in many respects it remains a difficult ideal to implement in an entirely satisfactory and systematic way. Nevertheless, the concept of participation established by the Report has continued to be a central consideration in planning.

Urban Transformations and the Architecture of Additions

Author: Rodrigo Perez de Arce
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317621220
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Rodrigo Perez de Arce's essay Urban Transformations and Architectural Additions was published during the formative stages of Post Modernism, at the point where theory was becoming seriously established. Jencks' first essays formalising the term Post Modernism in architecture and the revised Learning from Las Vegas were published the previous year. In planning terms, modernism had become associated with comprehensive redevelopment and forms of urban organisation that ignored context, history and any sense of tradition. De Arce considered the essential nature of buildings and the richness of historic urban form and explored how robust that essence was over time. He looked at the value of essential remnants and rich complexities in maintaining a sense of continuity and relevance. Having explored the adaptation process in history, de Arce went on to see how such a process might be simulated in contemporary cities with modern buildings, using additions and layers to change them from objects in infinite windswept space to being part of a rich urban fabric which described urban place. To do this he used concrete examples; housing schemes by James Stirling, new government centres in Chandigrah and Dacca and more prosaic 60's housing blocks. The paper had a fundamental influence on the way that architects and planners thought about the nature of cities: as dynamic organisms that were tangible to human beings, completely opposite to the systems thinking of the time. It contributed to ideas about the importance of street, place and city block which influenced so much recent regeneration practice. As we enter a phase of development where the reuse and adaptation of existing buildings is becoming paramount from both an economic and sustainable point of view, Perez de Arce's paper gives important insights into how to think about the process positively.