1st Edition

Eric Lyons and Span

Edited By Barbara Simms Copyright 2018
    240 Pages
    by RIBA Publishing

    Due to popular demand we are delighted to offer this new paperback edition of Eric Lyons and Span.

    Lavishly illustrated and deeply researched, this book celebrates the work of the architect Eric Lyons OBE (1912-1980), whose famous post-war housing - that today would be marketed as 'lifestyle housing' - is as well-loved today as it was vibrantly successful when first constructed. Built almost entirely for Span Developments, its mission was to provide an affordable environment "that gave people a lift".

    Influenced by Walter Gropius, Lyons brought a commitment to high density housing and the idea of fostering community into his Span work without compromising his intuitive sensitivity for landscape. His success brought the practice an impressive array of awards and led to a term as President of the RIBA.

    The enduring success of his design philosophy can be traced forward to 2005, when Span received a special Housing Design Award given to schemes that meet the current Sustainable Communities Plan. Indeed, the concept of Span mirrors current best practice thinking in housing design and continues to offer a fresh, relevant challenge to volume housebuilders in Britain today. This book serves as a lively reminder of that fact.

    Written by distinguished historians, practitioners and Span enthusiasts, the book has been researched using the archive compiled by Ivor Cunningham, one of Lyons ex-partners while a detailed gazetteer contains scale plan drawings of many of Spans housing templates.

    1. The Architect in Society: Eric Lyons, his circle and his values.

    2. Models for Suburban Living.

    3. Landscape First and Last.

    4. Building for Span and the Public Sector.

    5. New Ash Green: Span's latter 20th century village in Kent.

    6. Community and Common Space: The role of residents' societies.

    7. People's Homes Span in the 21st century.

    8. Images.

    9. The office.

    10. Gazeteer.


    Barbara Simms is a garden and landscape historian with a particular interest in the design, conservation and interpretation of landscapes of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.