18.09.2008

A Foreword by the curator of the British Pavillion

The nature of a country’s housing is shaped by many factors beyond the will of its architects. “Home/Away: Five British Architects Build Housing in Europe” considers the social and economic constraints within which different European housing cultures have emerged, and is particularly concerned to convey the testing conditions within which housing in Britain is produced.

At Present, the average British dwelling is the most expensive of any country save for Monaco. The ratio between the number of homes being built and the overall population is less than that of any country west of Poland. At 76m2, the average size of the homes we are building is at the very bottom of the European league. Our situation is further distinguished by certain deep-seated cultural prejudices, notably and aversion to large-scale planning and an attachment to the single-ownership house as the ideal housing model. Home/Away presents the work of five British Architects who are building housing both in their own country and continental Europe. The far-flung success of the group suggests that, for all the challenges of our native condition, British experience may yet offer lessons for other countries. The exhibition presents examples of the participant’s British and foreign work, side-by-side, as a means of interrogating the cultural differences at play. In the following days we present the in exhibition participating architects:
De Rijke Marsh Morgan
Maccreanor Lavington
Sergison Bates Architects
Tony Fretton Architects
Witherford Watson Mann Architects
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