1961 Parker Morris Standards antithesis of 'Rabbit Hutch' Britain

chris morton crisscross at evendine.eclipse.co.uk
Sat Feb 23 13:16:33 GMT 2013

There was a remarkable study "The Parker Morris Report" in the mid 1960s that defined standards in housing to ensure reasonable utility, flexibility and future-proofing. 

ft2 / m2 / m2 + 10%
A home to be built in the future for occupation by . . . should be designed with a net floor area of at least:--

The government adopted a slightly squeezed version mandatory for all council housing, further squeezed by a budget that made insulation a frivolous extra....upto 1975ish, when I worked for Aunty Lewisham, which also had a policy for all families to have ground floor and garden and a percentage of special needs units included for wheelchair users. Even pre-Maggie this was being eroded by passing outline designs to developers (who knew more about building than we architects, ie without insulation or easy maintenance features). 

Then came Maggie and/or the Gnomes....

Out of the report came the Parker Morris Standards, set out in the Ministry of Housing's "Design Bulletin 6 – Space in the Home". This provided typical dimensions for the typical items of furniture for which the dwelling designer should allow space, and provided anthropometric data about the space needed to use and move about furniture.
In 1967 these space standards became mandatory for all housing built in new towns, extended to all council housing in 1969, although they had by then already been adopted by many local councils. The mandatory nature of the standards was ended by the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, as concerns grew over the cost of housing and, generally, public spending.
Among the standards are that:
In one, two and three bedroom dwellings, one flushing toilet is required, and it may be in the bathroom.
A semi-detached or end-of-terrace house for 4 people should have a net floor area of 72 square metres.
A dwelling for three or more people should have enclosed storage space for the kitchen of 2.3 cubic metres.
Dwellings should be fitted with heating systems that maintain the kitchen and circulation space at 13 degrees Celsius, and the living and dining spaces at 18 °C, when the external temperature is −1 °C.

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