The industrialisation of building : building systems and social housing in postwar Britain 1942 to 1975
This study describes the development of system building in postwar social housing. System building required major transformations in the nature of the building producer and client. The transformation in the producer consisted of a change from the conventional pattern of selling the capacity to build individual buildings to selling a specific product, the building system, a general feature of which was its use of new building technologies and requirement for considerable capital investment. The transformation in the client consisted of a departure from the historical pattern of conceiving each building as an individual project to presenting large programmes of standardised buildings. These transformations took place within a specific historical epoch - the Welfare State. While the Welfare State provided conditions favourable to system building, it is argued that the policies persued by central government, the building industry, local authorities, the architectural profession and building trades unions played a crucial role in its development. These are examined in turn. The concept of mass production was continually associated with postwar developments in building technology, and the attraction of this idea to Welfare policy makers is also discussed. Chapters Six and Seven look in detail at the types of system promoted, both by government research and development architects and by commercial sponsors. The last chapter examines the architectural character of the housing produced by system building and the. relationship between technology and design theory in social housing.