IHS BRE Press
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.
"""This fascinating study of the growth of social housing is a racy tale of politics, war and fierce debate. … The essays in the book are well-written pieces of original research, as you might expect from Swenarton… ?Building the New Jerusalem? gives great insight into the realpolitik of solving both social and construction problems. And the vision of the title, sometimes buried amid reports and letters, shines through when you start looking at the plans in the book and on CD."" RIBA Journal ""This superbly-researched book challenges the conventional history of modern architecture by putting Britain?s garden-city and social housing movements at its origins. Swenarton not only establishes a more inclusive genealogy of modernism; he illuminates a living tradition of human-scaled, socially-conscious architecture that is all-the-more vital today."" Robert Fishman, University of Michigan"