Building the New Jerusalem: Architecture, Housing and Politics 1900-1930 (EP 82)

1st Edition

Mark Swenarton

IHS BRE Press
Published December 1, 2008
Reference - 246 Pages
ISBN 9781848060241 - CAT# EP82

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Summary

The first 30 years of the twentieth century was the crucible in which modern society and culture were formed. In much of Europe social democracy emerged as a dominant force in politics; the housing of the working class was recognised as a legitimate responsibility of the state; and architecture - hitherto largely the preserve of the leisured class - was transformed into the vehicle for delivering the transformation of society. Beginning in Britain before the First World War, the pattern was to be repeated, to a greater or lesser extent, in the years that followed across much of Europe and, indeed, the world. This is the first book to explore this new architecture of housing as an international phenomenon. The central figure was Raymond Unwin, the principal designer of the pioneering schemes of Letchworth Garden City and Hampstead Garden Suburb, who after the First World War became chief architect at the Ministry of Health and chairman of the Building Research Station. Unwin's garden suburb model was adopted by the British government for its experiments in social housing during and after the First World War. It was also highly influential on the mainland of Europe, where it formed the reference point for modernist architects such as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Ernst May. Theories of modern production developed by Henry Ford and FW Taylor meshed with transcendentalist ideas about new ways of living to bring about a revolution in the theory and practice of housing worldwide. The accompanying CD makes widely accessible for the first time key documents from this period. These include not only writings on housing and town planning by Raymond Unwin and others but also official publications including the Tudor Walters Report, the reports of the Womens' Housing Sub-Committee and reports from the Building Research Station.

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