LYONS' PLANNING LESSONS SPAN THE YEARS...
I hope that the Eric Lyons and Span show which Robert Harbison reviewed (AJ 30.11.06) won't just disappear after its few weeks at RIBA, because it has lessons for a lot of the UK, given the dire current housing that Berkeley, Bellway and the rest are turning out at present.
Lyons once said he wanted his estates to have 'an informal dignity that will be pleasant still in 50 years'. Take a walk around Ham Common or Blackheath, for instance, and you see what he means.
As Harbison points out, that's partly because Lyons had a real feeling for landscape - not something that developers seem to have these days or, for that matter, many architects. But there's more: intelligent site planning; a lovely way with contrasting textures and materials; and a surprising sense of space in what are quite small dwellings.
Span's estates are like enclaves, but without the gates that fence off so many new developments - there's no dignity in those!
If only some of the current crop of developers would see this exhibition and take note.
Don Livingston, Kettering