An Architecture of Parts: Architects, Building Workers and Industrialisation in Britain 1940 - 1970: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

An Architecture of Parts: Architects, Building Workers and Industrialisation in Britain 1940 - 1970

1st Edition

By Christine Wall


240 pages

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This book is unique in describing the history of post war reconstruction from an entirely new perspective by focusing on the changing relationship between architects and building workers. It considers individual, as well as collective, interactions with technical change and in doing so brings together, for the first time, an extraordinary range of sources including technical archives, oral history and visual material to describe the construction process both during and in the decades after the war. It focuses on the social aspects of production and the changes in working life for architects and building workers with increasing industrialization, in particular analysing the effect on the building process of introducing dimensionally co-ordinated components.

Both architects and building workers have been accused of creating a built environment now popularly discredited: architects responsible for poor design and building workers for poor workmanship. However, many of the structures and ideas underpinning this period of rapid change were revolutionary in their commitment to a complete transformation of the building process. An Architecture of Parts adds to the growing literature on changes in the building world during and immediately after the Second World War. It is significant, both empirically and historically, in its examination of the ideas, technology and relationships that fired industrialization of the building process in mid-century Britain.


"An Architecture of Parts: Architects, Building Workers and Industrialisation in Britain 1940–70 is an ambitious book, one that successfully reconciles theoretical issues with a wide range of archival sources to elucidate a large and complex subject matter."Gary A. Boyd, The Queen’s University, The Journal of Architecture

Table of Contents

Part 1: Industrialisation and the British Building Industry 1. The Industrialization of Building 2. The Building Industry during War and Reconstruction 3. Education and Training 4. Post-War change: management and organization Part 2: Architectural Abstraction: The Role of The Modular Society in Promoting Industrialized Methods 5. The Modular Society 6. ‘Additive Architecture’: The Early Years of Modular Co-ordination7. The BRS and the Mathematization of Architectural Modularity Part 3: ‘Never Argue with the Architect’: Architects and Building Workers 1940-70 8. ‘Put nobody between the architect and the men’: The Role of Architects on Site 9. The Nature of Work in the Construction Industry 10. Elusive Connections: Architects and Building Workers in Mid-century Britain

About the Series

Routledge Research in Architecture

The Routledge Research in Architecture series provides the reader with the latest scholarship in the field of architecture. The series publishes research from across the globe and covers areas as diverse as architectural history and theory, technology, digital architecture, structures, materials, details, design, monographs of architects, interior design and much more. By making these studies available to the worldwide academic community, the series aims to promote quality architectural research.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Residential
ARCHITECTURE / History / Contemporary (1945-)
ARCHITECTURE / Methods & Materials
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Public, Commercial & Industrial
ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development