2003 housing: a sarcasm odyssey
I must congratulate you on a thought-provoking issue containing solutions to the housing crisis without the need for architects (AJ 25.9.03).
Firstly, there's the south-facing world of Bill Dunster. His new standard eco-house type would solve the housing crisis in a flash. OK, the public realm might take a bit of a knock, but then local distinctiveness, traditional streets and getting a view of something worth looking at is surely overrated anyway. As for the use of architects, instead of only 5 per cent of new housing being designed by architects and 95 per cent as standard types, it will now only be one standard type but 100 per cent architect designedby Bill Dunster.
Of course, there is still the one-off housing market where architects have traditionally used their skills to overcome tight site constraints and restrictive planning rules. The more flexible planning rules drawn up by Allford and Zogolovitch, as their take on solving the housing shortfall, might throw a bit of a spanner in, however. If I can build 900m 2six-storey blocks 6 metres from my neighbour's window without planning permission (they can use blinds for God's sake! ), why bother with an architect? My local builder could knock me up a block of flats at a fraction of the cost. It's also a great way of getting around the affordable housing requirements. As for the PPG 7 debate about one-off houses in the countryside, we can now have thousands of them without even needing permission. Developers will love this new flexibility.
There's always community architecture, I suppose. Actually, that's anti-democratic and small minded to have local concerns, according to Austin Williams.
Williams also suggests we need more antisocial behaviour as that's what makes cities so good, so no designing out crime then.
As for conservation of the built environment, that 'denigrates the universalising mission of urban development while advocating urban stasis'. No work for conservation architects, then.
There's always loft extensions, I suppose.
What next? Perhaps the resurrection of Le Corbusier's Plan Voisin where central Paris is flattened to make way for towers in the park? Obviously these would now be south-facing eco towers and wouldn't need planning permission. Opposing them would only be petty and parochial anyway.
Please save us from the visionaries, or at least get them to wait until the morning after the night before until they go public.
Kenny Brown, West Midlands