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Hardback160 PagesSize: 250 × 190 mm
100 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781848223899Publication: May 10, 2021

Walter Segal

Self-Built Architect

Alice Grahame and John McKean


£40.00 GBP

Available for preorder: this book will be shipped on its publication date of May 10, 2021

  • This is the first comprehensive publication for over 40 years covering Segal’s work which is increasingly seen as an inspiration to today’s architects, designers and housing practitioners as they seek alternative ways to ease the current global housing crisis 
  • Beautifully illustrated with drawings and photographs from Segal’s personal archive and new photography from Taran Wilkhu, this sets Segal’s work within historic context and includes his father Arthur Segal’s paintings 
  • Includes a section on Segal’s legacy and how his work has influenced contemporary architects and designers

This is a study of the architect Walter Segal (1907-1985): his background, influences, thoughts, writings, his unique approach to architectural practice (and his built work) and his enduring impact on architecture and attitudes to housing across the world. It firstly sets out his formative years in continental Europe. Segal’s father was an eminent modernist painter and a founder of the Dada movement. Walter grew up surrounded by leaders of the European avant-garde. Qualifying as architect in Germany just as the Nazi party came to power, Segal moved to Switzerland, Mallorca, Egypt and finally to London in 1936.
The second section focuses on Walter Segal’s central theme of popular housing, his unique and independent form of professional practice, how he managed to spread his ideas through writing and teaching, and how his architecture developed towards the timber-frame form known world-wide today as ‘the Segal system’, which could be used by people to build their own houses.
The third section follows the development of the timber-frame form known world-wide today as ‘the Segal method’ and how it came to be used by people to build and indeed design their own houses. This culminated at the time of Segal’s death in two areas of self-built public authority social housing in London - housing which, nearly half a century later, remains as unique and highly desirable neighbourhoods.
The final section explores the legacy offered by Segal to younger generations; how his work and example, half a century after his timber ‘method’ was developed, leads to the possibility of making, and then living within, communities whose places are constructed with a flexible, easily assembled, planet-friendly timber-frame building system today and tomorrow.
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