Space standards (or the 'S’ words to those who still can’t face the idea) will probably always be controversial. That’s partly what makes it a good topic to write about, though I didn’t set out with a book in mind – the essay just got longer…! As the title suggests, the first set of housing space standards was produced almost exactly 100 years ago when the First World War ended. It became clear that England’s housing was in very poor condition and overcrowded. Lloyd George, the then Liberal Prime Minister, promised the returning soldiers, 'Homes fit for Heroes’ – not just thousands of new homes, but thousands of good, spacious, new homes.
The chronology in the book charts how various space standards have come and gone over the last century. The last decade has ben an incredible period – first the HCA funding standards, then the GLA (all tenures but only in London), and in 2015, the Nationally Described Space Standard (NDSS). As a practice we’ve played a significant role in all of this, but it’s important and instructive to look at space in the context of the housing situation as a whole, which I hope is what we, and the book, have done. As history tells us not to take anything for granted, it seemed like a good moment to remind ourselves how and why we got the NDSS, and what should happen next.
View or download the complete publication here.