After World War II, the most urgent reconstruction problem in these islands was in the field of public housing, and the opportunity presented itself to create innovative buildings and to finally abolish slums. Everyone, including the slum-dwellers, united behind the plan to build new dwellings as quickly as possible. In this book Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius tell the story of a great adventure of building and explain the architectural and political ideas that lay behind it. The authors tell how high-rise blocks - buildings in a modernist design that promised to address scientific and social needs with unprecedented precision - were constructed in almost every urban area. They explain that architects and planners working for a few "progressive" local authorities were the first to create the new housing patterns, and that powerful local politicians determined to "give the people homes" later encouraged widespread large-scale implementation of these patterns. The authors discuss where the buildings were built and why they looked as they did, describing various designs, construction methods, and community layouts through the 1950s and 1960s. Numerous illustrations and plans complement the text. This book - with its interweaving of architecture and politics, theory and practice, and local and national issues - will interest not only architects and historians of the postwar era but also readers interested in the growth of the Welfare State. The book includes a gazetteer of significant housing developments in Britain that is arranged by regions.
The Ultimate High Rise Book!
By David Kreikmeier on Jul 15, 2004
This outstanding work is not so much a book, but rather a labour of love. The authors provide the COMPLETE story of high rise social housing in the United Kingdom. It's various sections read like a biography of the buildings and the cities where they were built. Along the way we find out about: - * the architects, planners and visionaries who dreamed of a better world; * the development of building methods and plans of the buildings themselves; * the national and local politicans that influenced the process; * the differing housing traditions of the countries that make up the U.K; * the experience of the tenants. Interviews with many of the key players in this story help bring it alive in a way that a purely archtitectural book could never acheive. Indeed, the intrigues, plots and characters involved in the high rise story of a cities like Glasgow and Birmingham read like fast paced thrillers! Efectively debunking many of the myths about high rise building (a persitent one being that central government somehow "forced" it on unwilling local authorities)this is a must for anyone interested in UK social housing and all housing proffesionals. It should also be on the syllabus for those studying local government - the raw power and machinations of civic leaders in the 50's and 60's is brilliantly illuminated. There is perhaps a section that will need to be added to this book in the not too distant future (or maybe it will be a new book)- it will probably be called REVIVAL and will tell the story of the new interest in high rise living, the tenants who campaign to stop their bolcks being demolished, the blocks that are being sold for re-development as luxury housing or converted to special use (such as sheltered housing). On the basis of this book I know that Glenninning and Muthesius will provide the definite version of this story too. If you haven't read this book then you simply don't know the real story behind much of the U.K.'s post war housing history.