Architectural Design and Regulation / Edition 1

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Regulations and associated governance practices, relating to the design of the built environment are an integral part of the design process and warrant serious attention by scholars of urban design. The regulations that condition the building process are neither ephemeral nor insignificant yet they have barely been the subject of academic investigation. Governments are placing increasing emphasis on design codes, building regulations, and planning statements to guide the conduct of architects, and to fashion much more of the design process but there has been little research on what architects feel and think about this, and how it is affecting what they do and their daily patterns of work. The book offers insights into a number of important relationships: the impact of regulations on architects and their designs; the use of regulations to create or sustain shared bodies of knowledge and common understanding between different actors (i.e. designers, contractors, regulators); and, the social issues of how risk is shared (between designers and the state) for creating and ascertaining that the minimum (design) conditions are satisfied. The book develops two lines argument: 1. Regulation is core to architects' practices, and, in turn, such practices define, in part, the scope and possibilities of regulation. If one accepts this proposition, it seems incumbent on research to centre the understanding of architects' practices within the broadcloth of the rules and regulations that, in turn, are part of the broader contexts within which architecture unfolds. 2. While conceptions of design may preclude explicit incorporation of regulations and building standards, such standards do influence, in variable ways, aesthetic and/or design outcomes. Regulations ought to be conceived of as much more than technical instruments, or part of a non-creative process somehow removed from architects' practices.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“These are minor points about an excellent and ground-breaking book, which will be essential reading for those researching architectural practice, regulation, design professions and planning, and also for those with an interest in discourses of creativity and cultural production.  Architectural design and regulation contributes much to our understanding of the practices and situated knowledges of architects vis-à-vis regulation and so in turn about the ways in which the urban fabric is shaped.”  (Area, 15 August 2013)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405179669
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Rob Imrie is Professor of Geography at King’s College London. He is author and co-author of five books, and has written widely in international journals on issues ranging from urban policy and regeneration to disability and the built environment. His background is in geography, sociology, and planning studies and he has a doctorate in industrial sociology.

Emma Street has recently completed a doctorate in urban geography at King’s College London. Her background is in geography, and she has a masters’ degree in public policy. Her research interests include, urban planning and politics, the role of the private sector in place-shaping, and architecture and the built environment.

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Table of Contents



The Authors.



Illustration Credits.


1 Regulation, Rule, and Architecture: Introductory Comments.

1.1 Introduction.

1.2 The autonomy of architecture and the design process.

1.3 The study of regulation and the practices of architects.

1.4 Conclusions.

2 The Rule and Regulation of Building Form and Performance.

2.1 Introduction.

2.2 Early settlement and the codification of design practice.

2.3 Spatial codes and the regularisation of design and development.

2.4 Hygienic spaces and the efficiency of design.

2.5 From the regulatory society to the regulatory state.

2.6 Conclusions.

3 Urban Design and the Rise of the (De)Regulatory Society.

3.1 Introduction.

3.2 Self-activation and the (re-)regulation of design activities.

3.3 Regulating design: an evaluation of leading assumptions.

3.4 Conclusions.


4 Learning about Regulation.

4.1 Introduction.

4.2 Discipline, education, and the creation of the architect-subject.

4.3 Pedagogy and the acculturation of architects: evidence from the field.

4.4 Conclusions: towards relational pedagogies.

Case Study A: Rethinking Education: Evidence from a Focus Group.

5 Working with Regulation.

5.1 Introduction.

5.2 Systems of control and the management of the design process.

5.3 The interrelationships between regulations and the practices of architects.

5.4 Conclusions.

Case Study B: Straw-Bale Building in the USA: Negotiating the Codes.

6 Risk and the Regulation of the Design Process.

6.1 Introduction.

6.2 Building form, performance and the regulation of risk.

6.3 Risk, regulation, and architecture: some evidence from the UK.

6.4 Conclusions.

Case Study C: Regulating the Design Process: a Risky Business?


7 The Role of Project Actors in Influencing Design.

7.1 Introduction.

7.2 Redefining roles in the UK design and construction industry.

7.3 Contemporary project teams and the rise of the new professional.

7.4 Responding to change: architects’ experiences of a changing profession.

7.5 Conclusions.

Case Study D: Traces of Regulation: the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University.

8 The Coding of Design and Architecture.

8.1 Introduction.

8.2 Modernity, urbanism and the revival of urban character.

8.3 The influence of design coding on the practices of architects.

8.4 Conclusions.

Case Study E: The Use of Design Codes in Two English Towns.

9 Regulation and the Practices of Architects: Concluding Thoughts.


Appendix: Research Design and Methods.



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