This House believes Mass Housing Targets Fail to Provide Homes

HOME SWEET HOME?

Hous main 1

supporting
Zena Atkins-
Places for People
with Dominic Papa-
S333 Architects

Hous 1 Hous 2

opposing
Peter Barber-
Peter Barber Architects
with Daisy Froud-
AOC Architecture

Hous 3 Hous 4

Summer, 11 June 2009

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ZENA ATKINS
PETER BARBER
DOMINIC PAPA
DAISY FROUD

Housing and its provision has long been central to our reading of quality of life. From the great estates, to philanthropic benevolence and post-war social housing schemes- their built quality, proportions and services have been used variously as a measure of enlightenment, charity, innovation and prosperity. What do current approaches and the emphasis upon housing say about our time and our values? How will future generations read the years 2000-2010? What were we striving for?

Homes are essential elements in the foundation of community survival and frequently personal well being. They are places where people grow up, where families and people meet, develop, relax, find amusment, security and substance. However, with the dismantling of social housing provision, the break up of minimum standards and the drive by various governments to move people into home ownership and a credit economy facilitating it, the past 20 years have witnessed the development of housing as mere income, as investment, as collateral, as a place to ‘crash’ an aspiration, a commodity and an accessory.

The summer debate asked whether we had forgotten what makes a home. What is the role of central plans, targets and objectives in housing? Have they destroyed quality and extinguished the fundamental meaning of ‘home?’ Have the ‘boom times’ left us with a legacy of undesirable, highly unflexible and straightforwardly dull houses? Has our frenzy to build whatever we could, where ever we could, as long as targets were met, distracted us entirely from the goals of sustainable communities and good design? Or has volume housing provided more with the homes they want at a price they could afford? Is any home better than the right home?

Chaired by writer Philippa Stockley the debate featured contributions from Daisy Froud of AOC Architecture, Peter Barber of Peter Barber Architects, Zena Atkins Chair of Places for People Group and Dominic Papa from S333 Architecture and Urbanism Ltd.

The Building Futures Debates Series 09 are supported by BDP and Jascots Wine Merchants

For more information on this event contact building.futures@inst.riba.org

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