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15 Responses to Comment/Contact

  1. Rob McVicar says:

    Interesting blog which I arrived at via the NAA website. A lot of our work is housing and, at the moment, 100% local to Norfolk or Suffolk, both private and affordable. Will be interesting to see how CRTB pans out – I can’t fully grasp it as yet – fair to say I am pretty sceptical for now…. it boggles my mind a bit, seems like a lot of opportunity for people who want to make a sack load of cash, if your worked example is born out and the majority can agree to make the cash and share the wealth. I did not realise that CRTB would allow resi development beyond affordable housing and one off master works to extend into the ‘open countryside’… Whoever manages to get this together whilst running their own school, society and personal lives may be superhuman!

  2. Matt Wood says:

    Thanks for the comments Rob. My worked example was intended to illustrate that money is certainly to be made by turning farmland into development land, but in the normal run of things this value accrues to landowners and developers . Putting the uplift of value into the gift of the local community rather than the planning system means that, in theory, the value can be ‘captured’ locally for community benefit…though most people seem to share your scepticism! And people who successfuly coalesce community consensus behind imaginative projects – such as the Pennoyer Centre – can seem super human…but they are out there!

  3. Rob McVicar says:

    Hi Matt, yes, the gift of the local community element will hopefully take centre stage, and maybe the CRTB will self-fulfill this ambition by its nature, or become enshrined central to the bill. Look forward to seeing how possible tripling of landvalue will be creatively apportioned in practice (quite an inpressive national experiment / challenge). Pennoyer Centre is a good example of, I am sure, exceptional community staying power and focused drive!

  4. Stuart Mills says:

    Hi Matt,

    I’ve been following your blog and twitter since your lecture about the CRTB at the University of East London this year for Unit11. Myself and Luke Rowett have now both graduated from the Diploma in Architecture and are starting a blog to discuss community led projects (such as The Pennoyer Centre) that are going on throughout the country. Our aim is to eventually be able to help communities give their projects the best possible chance at being realised through working with them at the very beginning of a project, working at feasibility and planning stages and collaborating with local architects. To begin with we are researching a number of these such projects to put forward as case studies to help people to become familiar with the ways in which these projects can manifest themselves.

    Our webiste/blog is still very much in its inception but we would be very appreciative if you know of any community led projects that are completed or on-going which you feel would be useful to readers and that we should research and write about?

    Thanks for your time,

    Stuart Mills

  5. Matt Wood says:

    Hi Stuart,

    Sounds interesting. The Pennoyer Centre is probably the most relevant, covered previously on Ruralise (; it won the Commnuity Benefit category in this year’s RICS Eastern Awards, and goes through to the national finals announced in October. I will send some more information to your e-mail address.


  6. nick says:

    Really what I was looking for today. I think this is a topic one can see controversial sfd9lcxv. Nevertheless thank you a lot for this! Will vistit you soon again

  7. James Kyle says:

    Dear Matt,

    Some really good information and examples on here!
    I’m doing some research on ‘terrace housing’ focussing on their problems and possible solutions, comparing terraces from Holland, Germany and UK.
    You mention the West 8 Bourneo project in one of your posts, I was wondering if you know of any other worthwhile reading material / precedents on the subject of terracing housing ?
    My main interest is in the relationship of terraces to the street and the public realm… but im struggling to find much published information on the subject.

    Any references or info would be greatly appreciated!
    Kind Regards,

  8. Matt Wood says:

    Hi James,

    ‘The English Terraced House’ by Stefan Muthesius is the definitive historical account, and there’s some good stuff in Finn Jensen’s ‘The English Semi-Detached House’ – both of which I’ve drawn on in blog-posts on Ruralise. No studio should be without Roger Sherwood’s ‘Modern Housing Prototypes’ which gives a sense of how the terraced house ‘prototype’ was developed by the Modern Movement. For connections bewteen terraces of houses and the landscape, and for the advantages of the wide-fronted terrace, try Alan Powers excellent book on Tayler and Green, now available on Amazon at long last…as, I guess, are the other titles mentioned above.

    Hope that’s useful.

    Good luck with the research!


  9. FRANK READHEAD dip arch (Kingston) says:

    Alan Powers has pointed out your website as I was a pupil of T&G from 1961 to 1964. Now retired and living in Ely, Cambridgeshire, I shall make time to study this site in some depth!

  10. Matt Wood says:

    Hi Frank,

    Nice to hear from you!

    I’m aiming to write a fair bit about Tayler and Green on Ruralise over the remainder of the year, preparatory to putting together a dedicated website. We’ll be using some new photos taken by my friend and photographer Jim Stephenson (a.k.a. Click Click Jim). In the meantime, you could use the Talyer and Green tag in the tag-cloud on the home-page to search for what I’ve written so far.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog.


  11. Howard Baker BA Hons says:

    Hi Matt,

    I’m studying for my M Arch (RIBA part 2) and am beginning to write my Dissertation. I am researching the history of Rural Architecture in the UK and discussing whether it has been neglected or sensitively left alone. It is great to see people such as yourself and Rem Koolhaus taking an interest in this topic and was wondering if you could recommend any reading material or precedent work that you think would be helpful?

    I have found your site interesting and look forward to hear from you

    Kind regards


  12. Matt Wood says:

    Hi Howard,

    ‘People like you and Rem Koolhaas’ …why, thank you!

    Seriously though, pretty much everything I can tell you about rural architecture is on Ruralise. Read on, using the Architecture/Design category (currently 83 posts; a long evening with a pot of coffee should do it!).

    I started writing Ruralise because I couldn’t find much else out there on the subject. I think the truth is that planning regulations in the UK are designed to stop the entire country becoming suburbanised, as happened to much of the Home Counties between the wars (and to be fair I’m glad I live in Norfolk, not Surrey). The post-War Town and Country Planning Acts are often described as having ‘nationalised’ rural land in the UK by ensuring that planners have absolute and very tight control over what can be built in the countryside.

    For a very long time rural architecture in England, Wales and most of Scotland has been limited to agricultural buildings, barn-conversions, a few large houses (under PPS7, the ‘Gummer Law’) and affordable housing – plus thousands and thousands of acres of dull housing estates, which really have nothing ‘rural’ about them. Things are a bit different in rural Ireland and the more remote parts of Scotland – see posts on the Cork Rural Design Guide and Dualchas.

    Which isn’t to say there isn’t some great rural architecture out there, but it tends to be a rather niche activity. I don’t think there’s been much serious thought about genuinely rural models of development, because UK planning law is still framed in predominantly urban terms. In particular rural development tends to be heavily car-dependant – see ‘Rural Sustainability #2’.

    The spur to start Ruralise was the announcement of the Community Right to Build back in 2010. I wondered whether this might be part of a significant shift in thinking from urban to rural on the part of the new government, but I’m not sure this happened.

    Happy to continue this exchange if it would be useful. Let me know and I’ll make contact by e-mail.

    Thanks for taking an interest!


  13. Tim O'Callaghan says:

    Hi Matt

    Interested to come across your blog – particularly the bit about CenterParcs.
    I wrote my Part II dissertation on CenterParcs back in 2006 inspired in part by a vague childhood recollection of an elegant villa in the forest… I went on to discover its surprising history and the influence of Jaap Bakema’s (one of the 20thC’s most underrated architects?) philosophy on its design…
    I came to a similar conclusion (or at least proposition) to you in that it provides quite an interesting prototype for living in nature.
    A lot of the early CenterParcs in Holland have since become retirement ‘villages’ so this theory is being tested at least in part.

    links to dissertation below

    (happy to send you a pdf free of charge)

  14. Mike Shaw says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments above, regarding the evident interest and importance of your site. Well done for both this and your work at Lucas Hickman.
    Are you currently involved in any of the potential developments in and around Wymondham? The response above refers to acres of dull housing estates and the town is set for 1200 new homes. Some of these will end up outside the town’s boundary, many are likely to be dull. Have you thought about attempting to engage with the process? Is there a ruralise response to potential pocket developments and a new edge condition to the town?

  15. Matt Wood says:

    Hi Tim,

    I don’t know how I missed this comment when you left it…but thank. I will read your pieces with interest.


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