Tower Block:
Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Miles Glendinning

Publicaton Date
May 1994
Standard Number
Yale University Press
420 pages

After World War II, the most urgent reconstruction problem in these islands was in the field of public housing, and the opportunity presented itself to create innovative buildings and to finally abolish slums. Everyone, including the slum-dwellers, united behind the plan to build new dwellings as quickly as possible. In this book Miles Glendinning and Stefan Muthesius tell the story of a great adventure of building and explain the architectural and political ideas that lay behind it. The authors tell how high-rise blocks - buildings in a modernist design that promised to address scientific and social needs with unprecedented precision - were constructed in almost every urban area. They explain that architects and planners working for a few "progressive" local authorities were the first to create the new housing patterns, and that powerful local politicians determined to "give the people homes" later encouraged widespread large-scale implementation of these patterns. The authors discuss where the buildings were built and why they looked as they did, describing various designs, construction methods, and community layouts through the 1950s and 1960s. Numerous illustrations and plans complement the text. This book - with its interweaving of architecture and politics, theory and practice, and local and national issues - will interest not only architects and historians of the postwar era but also readers interested in the growth of the Welfare State. The book includes a gazetteer of significant housing developments in Britain that is arranged by regions.