Housing Standardisation

Housing Standardisation: The Architecture of Regulations and Design Standards

This project is an integrated architectural design research and historical analysis of housing design. It addresses a paucity of housing research in architecture considering the changing impact of design governance – in particular the influence of housing regulations and design standards – on typical, standardised housing outcomes. The research explores how the interaction of spatial, social, and technical reasoning determines housing design and defines design value and housing quality, while studying the quantifiable and empirical evidence but also the social norms and socio-economic expectations and imaginations around housing these are based on.

The study is framed by a historical comparison of design governance and housing design approaches in England since the Building Act of 1774 – the first major, consolidated Act of Parliament to standardise housing and its quality – until today and a parallel international comparison of the key approaches currently in use in Chile, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and China. The project will provide a detailed analysis of the contextual determinants of housing design standardisation and the architecture produced by regulations and design standards.