Running time: 27 minutes
Swiss-born Walter Segal was reared in an artists' commune in Ascona. He studied architecture in Delft, Berlin and Zurich. Since 1936, he has practised in England. Author of several books, he has taught in London and Philadelphia, becoming very popular with the younger architects who are disenchanted with the increasing detached role of the architect.
Some years ago, Segal gave up using bricks and mortar in favour of a quick and simple, low-cost construction system which, he devised based on a timber frame and standard materials in their market sizes. After it had been successfully tried out by several clients and owner-builders, Segal became involved with a self-build public-housing program in the London Borough of Lewisham. Lewisham provided the land and the Government provided the cost of the materials, for a selected group of homeless families to build their own homes, using the Segal system.
Segal tells how he ran an evening school to teach these families - father, mother and older children - how to handle tools and so on, how they subsequently helped each other on the site, and how he himself received a belated education in working jointly with people. He sees this approach to self-buildings as the one form in which housing could be provided in the future; so long as great support can be enlisted.
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