Architects should “meet us half way” on Building Better Building Beautiful Commission says UK housing minister 英國住房部長表示,建築師應該“建立更美好的建築”

UK minister for housing Kit Malthouse has defended the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission, calling on architects to work with him to resist bland, developer-led housing.

Speaking to Dezeen, Malthouse asked for the architectural profession to “meet me halfway” to push developers to “allow beauty into their work”.

He said the point of the government commission chaired by Roger Scruton has been missed by British architects, who have criticised it for attempting to reignite the divide between proponents of traditional and modern architecture.

Malthouse, who was appointed minister of state for housing in July 2018, said that working together architects and the government could collaborate to build houses people want.

“Post the initial volley of attacks upon me, what I urged was for architects to accept that part of the secret of success is to build what the public like,” he said.

“What would be great is to move the conversation away from a confrontation into a collaboration for beauty.”

Communities “need to like what’s being built”

The government commission aims to address the UK housing crisis and the lack of new-build affordable homes.

“If I’m going to build 300,000 houses, I need local communities to accept them. And that means they need to like what’s being built,” said Malthouse, who is the Conservative MP for north west Hampshire.

“We’re putting 45 million quid into the house building industry across the piece. We’re not short of money to get out of the door. But it’s perfectly possible to produce stuff that looks fantastic that satisfies the purists of the architectural profession and local communities at the same time.”

In February 2018 the ministry for housing announced an extra £45 million of funding for community projects that would free up land for local councils to build 7,280 homes.

Architects must join government to “push developers”

Malthouse accepted that mass-housing developers, not architects, have been the real barrier when it comes to building sensitive and high-quality homes.

“Architects get blamed by association. People think the new housing estates have been designed by an architect. And in fact, it hasn’t. It’s been done on a spreadsheet,” he said.


英國住房部長Kit Malthouse為建築更好建築美麗委員會辯護,呼籲建築師與他合作,抵制平淡,開發商主導的住房。














Malthouse highlighted the work of Peter Barber Architects as an example of good contemporary housing developments

Malthouse強調Peter Barber Architects的工作是當代住宅發展的一個例子


He acknowledged that many practices are doing brilliant work when given the freedom, citing the playful brick housing developments of Peter Barber Architects as one such example. A commitment to building high-quality homes would, he argued, give architects wider scope for experimentation.

“We want to open the door for architects, rather than fight with them.”

“Here’s the challenge: meet me halfway. I need the architectural profession to join with me and with Roger Scruton to cajole, propel, and push the developers to allow beauty into their work.”

UK housing market “doesn’t function correctly”

Malthouse acknowledged that the UK housing market is not currently providing the kind of new homes that people both want and afford to live in.

“The house-building market doesn’t function correctly. House builders don’t compete in the same way as they would in any other market, they’re not competing on quality and design,” he said.

他承認,許多實踐在獲得自由時做得非常出色,並將Peter Barber Architects的俏皮磚房開發作為一個這樣的例子。 他認為,致力於建造高品質住宅將為建築師提供更廣泛的實驗空間。


“這就是挑戰:中途遇見我。我需要建築專業與我一起,與Roger Scruton一起哄騙,推動並推動開發人員將美容融入他們的工作中。”





“In what other industry do 60 per cent of people say they’ll never buy a new product, that they prefer to buy second-hand?”

Rejecting bland mass housing, Malthouse said the commission aims to restore “the different, the interesting, the unusual, the eccentric, the familiar, the personal” to contemporary housing.

Problem with brutalism is “very few people liked it”

Malthouse also addressed concerns that the commission is a thinly disguised attack on contemporary architecture that is rooted in the modernist movement.

“I think a lot of people worry about the foundational phrase of modern architecture, which is that form follows function,” he said. “Great architecture that has wide appeal is about a lot more than just function, it is about delight and aesthetics.”





“我認為很多人擔心現代建築的基本用語,即形式遵循功能,”他說。 “具有廣泛吸引力的偉大建築不僅僅是功能,而是關於喜悅和美學。”


Robin Hood Gardens is one of the many post war housing estates that have since been torn down



He suggested that the “battle over brutalism” is the result of architects’ anxiety over their own aesthetic legacies. Over the past decade many post-war housing developments have been demolished, including Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens in London.

“Many of the big debates within the architectural profession have been about the erasure of some of those supposed monuments to the future,” he said.

“There was a sense from that generation of architects that this was our mark, this is what we were leaving, but the problem is very few people liked it.”

“Architects surely want more than adoration of profession”

Architecture that is popular with the public, not just architecture fans, is the key to housing that can last for centuries he said.

“All architects surely want more than just the adoration of their own profession, they want to build something that is seen to be beautiful by the world. Who wouldn’t want to build the next UNESCO World Heritage Site? This is how architects, fundamentally, want to leave a mark for posterity,” said Malthouse.”

“The challenge I’m putting down constantly to everybody is, are you building the conservation areas of the future? Will future generations treasure what you built? Or will they feel the urge to demolish it?”

Main image courtesy of UK Parliament.












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