Morris + Company has just received planning approval to create a timber extension to Walter Segal’s Highgate residence in London. The transformation aims to revive the original architecture of the house, built by the architect himself in 1965 and introduces a contemporary intervention to the iconic village home.
Walter Segal: The Latest Architecture and News
“Self-build”: no mention of an architect, or anyone else for that matter. Maybe it’s a prehistoric urge that makes this idea so enticing; our earliest ancestors constructed their primitive huts to suit their unique needs and reflect their status or style. “Self-build” promises to physically re-connect people to the homes they live in.
However, the romantic notion of "self-build" housing is rarely compatible with the modern reality we live in. Building has become increasingly clouded by the difficulty of procuring land, excessive governmental red-tape, and an increase in building complexity. While self-build remains the purest form of this dream, there are now a series of nuanced processes that can help us achieve similar results. As a new generation of communities that encourage this dream emerges, we must look at the role the architect plays within them.
The dream of universal affordable housing has been an idea tried and tested by architects throughout history. From the wacky Dymaxion House by Buckminster Fuller, an imagining of how we would live in the future, to mail-order houses able to be assembled like IKEA furniture, many proposals have tackled the challenge of creating affordable housing or dwellings which could be replicated no matter the time and place. However, although their use of techniques such as pre-fabrication and cheap materials seemed, in theory, to be able to solve pressing issues of homelessness and the global housing crisis, time and time again these proposals have simply failed to take off. But why?
IKEA’s research lab SPACE10 is attempting to find an answer to this question through open-source collaboration. By releasing their design of a micro-house that used only one material and one machine to make it and an accompanying website that catalogs the process and invites feedback, they are inviting architects, designers, and aspiring home-owners to work together in creating a solution which could improve the lives of millions. “The vision,” they say, “is that by leveraging the world’s collective creativity and expertise, we can make low-cost, sustainable and modular houses available to anyone and, as a result, democratize the homes of tomorrow.”
Presenting the work of the revolutionary architect Walter Segal, Walter’s Way – The Self-Build Revolution focuses on Segal’s work with the Lewisham self-builders of the 1980s and displays the application of Segal’s method today. Housed in and around a newly constructed section of a Segal house, from which visitors can experience the fundamental elements of the style, are original drawings, documents and furniture designed by Segal alongside archival films and photographs, plus contemporary photographs by Taran Wilkhu and a new interpretation of Segal’s technique by 2015 Turner Prize winner Assemble.
Residents of a unique south London housing scheme are hosting a free event to celebrate the work of the architect who designed their street. Walter Segal, who died 30 years ago, will be remembered at a special Celebrating Segal day on Saturday 19th September 2015, 11am-3pm.
The day of talks, films, art and tours will take place in Walters Way, South London, which was designed by Segal, built by residents, and is one of two streets named after him (the other being Segal close). The event, which is part of Open House London, will highlight Segal’s achievements and his
In recent years, DIY approaches to building houses have become increasingly popular, as increasing cost and decreasing availability have caused some prospective house-buyers to embrace simple methods of fabrication and the sweat of their own brow, as discussed in this recent article. However, this trend has much earlier precedents: in 1979, self-build pioneer Walter Segal had already embraced these progressive concepts in a development known as "Walter's Way," an enclave of self-built social housing in southeast London. According to Dave Dayes, a Walter's Way resident and an original builder on the project, Segal believed that "anybody can build a house. All you need to do is cut a straight line and drill a straight hole." The houses were built entirely of standard wood units assembled onsite in Lewisham.
In this video, London based non-profit The Architecture Foundation steps into the utopia of Walter's Way, a micro-neighborhood founded on principals of communal living for people of all backgrounds. The film has been released in connection with Doughnut: The Outer London Festival taking place September 5th, which will bring together writers, historians, architects and economists for "an adventurous celebration of all things Outer London and a critical reflection on the rapid transformation that the city's periphery is currently experiencing." The Architecture Foundation aims to introduce central Londoners (and the world) to the radically functional housing concepts in practice at Walter's way.