The Idea of Building: Thought and Action in the Design and Production of Buildings

The Idea of Building: Thought and Action in the Design and Production of Buildings

The Idea of Building: Thought and Action in the Design and Production of Buildings

The Idea of Building: Thought and Action in the Design and Production of Buildings

Synopsis

This book is unique in its attempt to explore the many ways we have of thinking about buildings. In particular it raises questions about the kinds of knowledge we have and will need in designing, making and enjoying our buildings. At the very least this book provides an overview of the fragmented construction industry, making it a vital purchase for all construction related students. However, the author has written for a wider audience making the book an essential guide for those interested in the form of buildings or the deliberate ways in which people build them.

Excerpt

In 1919 the Building Research Station was established as the world’s first multi-discipline organisation for Building Research. Among its young and enthusiastic pioneering staff was one Robert Fitzmaurice, a Civil Engineer with a taste for architecture and music and with a highly synoptic mind. In the mid-1930s he decided that the Station had made so much progress that he could put together the first picture of the way science was changing the knowledge-base of the building industry. A widely representative discussion group was formed and in 1938 HMSO published Volume 1 of Principles of Modern Building.

It had an electrifying effect on such young moderns as F.R.S. Yorke, Frederick Gibberd, and Wells Coates, and on several rising stars in the construction industry. F.R. Yerbury, the founder of the Building Centre, was in Fitz’s circle too—he was Fitz to all his friends—and everyone pressed him to get on with Volume 2.

But that was not to be. At the end of 19371 had the good fortune to join him as his Personal Assistant and became involved in the early stages of the second volume, but by the end of 1938 we had to give it up as the clouds of war began to cast shadows over our work at the Station. The post war re-write of Principles was a worthy effort and embodied the results of almost a decade more of building research, but he was not available to participate in its writing and his imaginative touch could not be recaptured.

Perhaps Principles was not really to be his greatest contribution to the world of building however, for it was he who first realised that prescriptive building regulations would frustrate innovation and thereby make building research largely pointless, and it led him in 1934 to propose that they be moved in stages on to the

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