In which I take everything back about planners…

Continuing on from the recent posts about Japanese architecture, comparisons with Irish rural architecture and why the planners aren’t as keen on a more avante-garde approach to design in Ireland; one of the things I hadn’t quite appreciated was the difference in building longevity between Japan and Ireland…

“…individual buildings are replaced at the drop of a hat. In Japan, private homes stand for no more than thirty years. Although large commercial and institutional projects may survive for longer, trendy restaurants and shops seldom survive more than five years.” New Architecture in Japan Yuki Sumner & Naomi Pollock (details below)

Compare this to Ireland where both large houses and humbler cottages go back to the mid 1700’s & 1800’s, and even today most buildings are expected to have a lifetime of 60 years +, so, maybe the planners have a point in being careful with the architectural heritage; this also goes someway in explaining why there are less progressive buildings in Ireland and that contemporary designs are on the whole more difficult to get through planning. Obviously I’m making the case for Irish architecture but you can transpose this information exactly to the United Kingdom where effectively the same planning system and theories abound.

The problem as I’ve been emphasising throughout is that we’re experiencing extreme, cultural moodswings from the backlash against the famine cottages which resulted in bungalow blitz to the McMansions following the new Celtic Tiger money. So maybe, a little bit of safety is called for and the ‘Design Guide’ approach to planning is one option.

But also as I’ve said throughout, we still need architects to reinvestigate appropriate contemporary forms for Irish rural housing; otherwise we’ll be left with the same homeogeneity of housing that has occured in the past.

Details on New Architecture in Japan book by Yuki Sumner & Naomi Pollock:



ISBN: 978-1-8589-4450-0

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