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Homes for Today and Tomorrow: Britain’s Parker Morris Standards and the West Ham Experimental Scheme

Homes for Today and Tomorrow: Britain’s Parker Morris Standards and the West Ham Experimental Scheme Abstract Late 1950s Britain witnessed an unprecedented affordability of consumer goods which, along with a comparative increase in wages for the lower paid, led to a close convergence of middle- and working-class living standards. The home became the eminent site for the expression of this affluence, confirmed in its role by the government publication in 1961 of Homes for Today and Tomorrow, usually known as the Parker Morris Report. This new report on space standards argued for flexibility in the design of the home, which it associated with notions of freedom, individuality, and choice. The report sought to move away from standardized layout plans and from the prevailing view of housing tenants as uniform, undifferentiated subjects. This paper focuses on the building of an experimental housing project at West Ham, the first to espouse Parker Morris ideals. It does so in order to explore the difficulties involved in realizing these aspirations for housing adaptable enough to allow for acquisitiveness and individual freedom, and to ask why the recommendations of the report seemed so controversial. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architecture and Culture Taylor & Francis

Homes for Today and Tomorrow: Britain’s Parker Morris Standards and the West Ham Experimental Scheme

Architecture and Culture , Volume 10 (3): 26 – Jul 3, 2022
26 pages

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References (41)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
ISSN
2050-7836
eISSN
2050-7828
DOI
10.1080/20507828.2022.2198299
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Late 1950s Britain witnessed an unprecedented affordability of consumer goods which, along with a comparative increase in wages for the lower paid, led to a close convergence of middle- and working-class living standards. The home became the eminent site for the expression of this affluence, confirmed in its role by the government publication in 1961 of Homes for Today and Tomorrow, usually known as the Parker Morris Report. This new report on space standards argued for flexibility in the design of the home, which it associated with notions of freedom, individuality, and choice. The report sought to move away from standardized layout plans and from the prevailing view of housing tenants as uniform, undifferentiated subjects. This paper focuses on the building of an experimental housing project at West Ham, the first to espouse Parker Morris ideals. It does so in order to explore the difficulties involved in realizing these aspirations for housing adaptable enough to allow for acquisitiveness and individual freedom, and to ask why the recommendations of the report seemed so controversial.

Journal

Architecture and CultureTaylor & Francis

Published: Jul 3, 2022

Keywords: Parker Morris Report; space standards; postwar Britain; council housing; affluence; adaptable house; flexibility

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