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Extract from the cover image Les Constructeurs - définitif, 1950, by Fernand Léger (1881-1955). Held at the Musée National Fernand Léger, Biot, France. ©ADAGP, Paris
James Woudhuysen writesIan Abley writesMartin Pawley writesJames Heartfield writesMiffa Salter writesRichard McWilliams writes



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Why is construction so backward?

James Woudhuysen, Ian Abley, Stefan Muthesius and Miles Glendinning. Wiley-Academy, 2004, ISBN 0-470-85289-5.

With a foreword by Martin Pawley, and contributions from Richard McWilliams, Vicky Richardson and Clare Morris, this is '... required reading’ for Paul Finch, EMAP Construct.

Why is construction so backward? James Woudhuysen, Ian Abley, Stefan Muthesius and Miles Glendinning

Construction has emerged as a mainstream political issue. Yet the building trade is one of the world’s weakest: it is fragmented, barely globalised and behind other sectors in introducing disruptive innovations to its basic processes. The modest worldwide scale of prefabricated building confirms how construction remains a 19th-century affair, not a 21st-century one.

Drawing on the latest technologies that have emerged both inside and outside the sector, Why is construction so backward? forms a detailed, practical alternative to the conventional wisdom in building design and urban planning. It is a powerful call for reform, and a sharp attack against architecture as social engineering and environmentalist dogma.

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‘Very compelling… a significant piece of research and thought leadership. Essential.’ Colin Bartle-Tubbs, UK Operations Director, Deloitte

‘Welcome and timely… takes on an industry that has revelled in complacency for too long.’ Bernhard Blauel, Principal, Blauel Architects

‘The authors are prepared to be daring, reframe the question and posit new paradigms. Reflecting effortlessly across the literature of property, business, market research and construction, the book’s kaleidoscope of ideas, examples and images gives it a refreshing depth of insight and breadth of vision.’ John Worthington, Founder, DEGW

‘A tour de force of polemical provocation. This timely work forces one to think about construction in the broadest terms. Required reading.’ Paul Finch, Editorial Director, EMAP Construct

‘A must-read for architecture students and also important for practitioners, this is a passionate critique of the construction industry and the planning process, and brings new depth to debate about the relationship between architecture and society.’ Penny Lewis, Editor, Prospect

‘Shock therapy for construction policymakers.’ Austin Williams, Technical Editor, The Architects’ Journal

‘The introspection of architects, planners and politicians involved in urban, housing and planning issues needs a little turmoil, perhaps. The book is persuasive, at times heavily prescriptive, and certainly argumentative – but it may catalyse a wider and more informed debate on the future of UK housing policy.' Michael Hulme, Director, International Centre for the Study of Media, Technology and Culture, Henley Management College

‘The pleasure of this book is not only that it takes apart, with great gusto, the all-pervasive environmental prejudices of our time, but that it does so with such detailed scrutiny of construction and with such passion to build more and better.’ Alan Hudson, Director of Studies in Social and Political Science, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education

‘Important not just for architecture and design, but also for marketing – especially given how the corporate world uses different design elements, such as buildings, to build brands.’ Lisbeth Svengren and Mats Frick, Stockholm University School of Business, Sweden

More about the book

Click here for information on Fernand Léger and his painting Les Constructeurs - définitif, 1950 The cover image is Fernand Léger's Les Constructeurs - définitif

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Martin Pawley's Foreword to Why is construction so backward?, by James Woudhuysen and Ian AbleyMartin Pawley's Foreword to Why is construction so backward?

Click here for the answer to Who is this book for, and why? Who is this book for, and why?

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Sustaining Architecture in the Anti-Machine Age, edited by Ian Abley and James Woudhuysen

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