Vol. 8, No. 2 (March 2004)    




The Prince's Foundation & INTBAU:

Traditional Solutions to New Urban Problems


1. Introduction

Like most European citizens these days, you are probably interested in environmental issues. You recycle all your tins and bottles, your house is beautifully insulated, and your refrigerator has a five star energy rating. Just a few years ago you protested about a proposed new development on the meadows just outside your town or city. Your new car has better fuel economy than the last and a catalyser in the exhaust, and you have changed to an organic olive oil from Italy and organic greens from Hungary.

You've read that cities are much less dense and polluted than they were a century ago. Urban air quality is better, and river water is cleaner, without a doubt. Cities are greener and less dense, and support a diversity of plant and animal life that is missing from many of the large scale farmed landscapes between them.

In your city, the historic buildings are beautifully preserved, and attract a seasonal run of tourists. Nobody has proposed an inner-city motorway for years, though it was obvious that the inner relief road had to be built, and you didn't oppose that. After all, the sound barriers even won an architectural award.

At home, your garden is the joy of your life, and you silently thank your decision to move to a village within reach of the city, where you have room to compost your leaves and let the dog run about in the garden. After all, it's only a short drive to your work in an award-winning environmentally sensitive office park built last year on some degraded farmland.

So far, so good. But meanwhile troubling things seem to be happening at the edges of your daily life. Probably like many you find that your waist measurement has increased a bit in recent years, and despite your reason
able efforts, you find that it doesn't seem to go decrease as easily as it increases, though you are sure that you are eating less fat these days. Or perhaps you are younger and slimmer, and live in an outer suburb where you are struggling to balance your income against the cost of running the second, second-hand car which was necessary for your partner to get the kids to school and the shopping back from the supermarket. If you are a student, pensioner or on a low income, you have doubtless noticed that the cost of filling up your two cars has become a serious part of your monthly budget.

Your bank and post office closed their branches in your village or suburb a year or two ago, but it's only a short drive of a couple of miles to much better shops. And anyway your shops aren't much good since the local deli was taken over by a mini-supermarket chain. Probably you now only shop once a week, and refrigerate or freeze the bargains you buy at a 5,000 square metre supermarket somewhere on the outskirts of your city, out near the business park, entertainment centre and car dealership. Maybe you've decided that it is easier to shop at the new IKEA than to struggle through the traffic into the central city, find a car park and then to trudge between several old-fashioned furniture stores looking for what you wanted. And besides, IKEA is much cheaper. It's amazing how much cheaper consumer goods are these days, though few things seem to be made here now.

But then there was that disagreeable person at a dinner party or conference recently, who asked why you had two cars, when oil reserves were low and ozone levels so high? And why you didn't move to the inner city? You argued of course that you had to have a car, because otherwise you couldn't get through your day, with so many different journeys needing to be made - children to schools and shops, parents to their jobs, picking up the dry-cleaning on the way home - how could you possibly give up your car?
[1]  And anyway, you have a bicycle, a mountain bike, which you ride at the weekend, well sometimes. Besides, everyone at the dinner knew you to be an environmentally responsible citizen, so there was no need to justify yourself.

Yet the doubts remain, and you fear that your working life is extending its reach, at the expense of relaxation and sleep. You seem to be spending more and more of your day sitting in traffic. You notice that each car has only one person in it. You thought about taking the bus, but where you live the service is quite limited, and anyway you need to go the gym some nights, and that's several miles off the bus route.

Does all this sound familiar? If it is, then you are living the lifestyle of Modernist urbanism. Is it inevitable? Is it the spirit of the age? Some people think not, and I am one of them.

2. The Prince of Wales's architectural interests

In 1984 the Prince of Wales, the heir to the British throne, was invited to address the 150th anniversary dinner of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The reasons for the invitation aren't clear, but it's possible that RIBA thought of the work of Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria, who in the early years of her reign had done much to advance the cause of architecture and planning. Perhaps the Prince of Wales had already expressed some interest in architecture.

But whatever was expected, what the RIBA heard on the evening of
30 May 1984 was profoundly shocking. Instead of the bland encomium they might have expected to hear in the august surroundings of Hampton Court Palace, they received a dressing-down on the state of architecture in Britain. The speech, apparently written by the Prince himself and against the advice of his courtiers, started off innocuously enough as the Prince noted that:

“...at last people are beginning to see that it is possible, and important in human terms, to respect old buildings, street plans and traditional scales and at the same time not to feel guilty about a preference for facades, ornaments and soft materials. At last, after witnessing the wholesale destruction of Georgian and Victorian housing in most of our cities, people have begun to realise that it is possible to restore old buildings and, what is more, that there are architects willing to undertake such projects...”

Then followed a short account of community planning, then emerging as a practical means of dealing with complex problems, notably on the sprawling Modernist council estates that are such a feature of the British landscape:

“...What I believe is important about community architecture is that it has shown 'ordinary' people that their views are worth having; that architects and planners do not necessarily have the monopoly of knowing best about taste, style and planning; that they need not be made to feel guilty or ignorant if their natural preference is for the more 'traditional' designs - for a small garden, for courtyards, arches and porches…”

The term 'porches' in this section perhaps indicates some influence from the US, where construction of the village of Seaside in Florida had begun in 1981. Seaside included 'coding' for urban form, notably requiring houses to open to the street with neighbourly traditional 'porches', as Americans would term a verandah. But then the Prince reached the crux of his speech, talking of current proposals for Trafalgar Square that would have seen significant enclosing buildings demolished and replaced with a disparate variety of Modernist buildings:

“It is hard to imagine that London before the last war must have had one of the most beautiful skylines of any great city, if those who recall it are to be believed…  What, then, are we doing to our capital city now? What have we done to it since the bombing during the war? What are we shortly to do to one of its most famous areas - Trafalgar Square? Instead of designing an extension to the elegant facade of the National Gallery which complements it and continues the concept of columns and domes […] what is proposed is like a monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend.” [2]

Apart from the fact that the phrase 'monstrous carbuncle' instantly became common parlance, the influence of the speech was both profound and long lasting. The first to feel the effect of the speech was the architectural firm Ahrens Burton and Koralek (ABK), designers of the then proposed addition to the National Gallery. Their project, which had included an underpass from Trafalgar Square and a façade including large amounts of blue painted steel tubing, was promptly dropped. Indeed, ABK found it difficult to get work for several years afterwards. But much of the initial response was positive, as architects examined their consciences. Some blamed developers, others planners. Many adopted a kind of Thatcherite mannerist classicism as a house style. Others fumed at what they argued was unwarranted interference by an untrained critic.

In 1989 came 'A Vision of Britain', a book and television programme produced with the assistance of a wide range of collaborators. The three part series examined a range of architectural and design issues, with the Prince arguing that designers should work to public tastes rather than seek to impose their values on society. The programme was not wholly negative, and it is often forgotten that the list of buildings for which he indicated approval included a number of humanist Modernist projects such as the Tate Gallery in St Ives, Cornwall, by Eldred Evans and David Shalev.

In the same year the Prince arranged for some of his advisors to begin a series of Summer Schools. These schools went under a variety of names. The first two were known as 'The Prince of Wales's Summer School in Civil Architecture', later ones as 'The Prince of Wales's European Summer School' or 'The Prince of Wales's American Summer School'. The last two (1998 and 1999) were not formally organised as summer schools, but rather run as an extension to the Graduate Programme. The success of these events led to a rapid and perhaps unplanned expansion of the Prince's activities in architecture.

Image 1
  The Prince of Wales's Institute of Architecture (PoWIA) opened at Gloucester Gate, in September 1992, in a pair of rambling, run-down Regency houses - formerly a kindergarten - fronting Regent's Park at the edge of grimy Camden Town just outside central London. The PoWIA (or 'Princestitute' as it was know to students) ran a one-year Foundation Course in Architecture and the Building Arts and a three-year Graduate Programme in Architecture that eventually led to the RIBA Part 2 qualification, together with a wide public programme of lectures and exhibitions.
t was the latter - the exhibitions - which led to its eventual downfall. Student work at any level is rarely of a standard that impresses the public, but this work was expected to carry the weight of the Prince's architectural agenda. By the early 1990s Thatcherite classicism was wearing thin in the public imagination, and Modernist architects had rounded to attack the Prince's interests. The hapless students bore the brunt of it, quite unfairly. End of year exhibitions at the PoWIA were reviewed in a hostile press as if they were the work of seasoned practitioners. This was the period in which the Prince's marriage was the stuff of salacious rumour and the courtiers found themselves attacked on all sides. The 'Princestitute' was a ready target, and by 1996 the Graduate Course was slated for closure. Regent's Park (despite the building's linoleum and chipboard legacy of the kindergarten years) was seen as too prestigious a location, and various warehouses in regenerating parts of London were investigated as alternatives. It was widely reported that the PoWIA had closed for ever.

Image 2

  But the organisation tended to arise, Hydra-like, every time it had apparently been killed off and laid to rest. The PoWIA merged with the Urban Villages Forum (UVF) - a membership organisation under the Prince's patronage - and Regeneration Through Heritage (RTH) - a successful initiative run by Fred Taggart in Business In The Community (BITC, another patronage organisation involving commerce in regeneration) in 1998 to form The Prince's Foundation for Architecture and the Building Arts (TPF). The school was then known for a short time as 'School of Architecture and the Building Arts'. The Graduate Programme closed in July 1998, and the school transferred to a newly renovated warehouse in trendy Shoreditch in January 2000.  The remaining Foundation Course in Architecture and the Building Arts - highly rated even by Modernist architecture schools but very expensive to run - closed in July 2001.
TPF was a disparate group of initiatives that nevertheless found a curiously effective synergy under the banner '
working to connect the art of building and the making of community'. Run by the ambitious David Lunts, and working with Regional Development Authorities and other bodies, the Foundation pursued regeneration projects across the length and breadth of England and Wales. Using techniques such as the Charrette (known in the UK as Enquiry By Design or EBD) drawn from American New Urbanist practice, the Foundation developed a reputation for successful public consultation and regeneration of depressed industrial areas.

At the same time, new educational initiatives sprang up to replace the abandoned Foundation Course. The Prince of Wales's Drawing School began a series of successful drawing classes at levels from amateur to professional and an MA in Fine Art. The Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts school, started by Professor Keith Critchlow at the Royal College of Art in 1985 and which had loosely adhered to the PoWIA, now occupied half a floor, hidden behind the handsome library. A programme awarding scholarships to enable practising tradesmen and women to perfect their skills in traditional building crafts was quietly initiated. Short courses in new urbanism drew on links with the US New Urbanist movement. Despite all this, a prevailing short-termism and reactive style of management - following Government and Press agendas rather than creating them - led to considerable insecurity.

In 2003 David Lunts moved to a new position in the Government's Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), the successor to the Department for the Environment. Run by bullish Yorkshireman and former unionist John Prescott, the ODPM sought to address the burgeoning growth of London and the South East by recourse to new traditional urbanism, then developing in Europe under the leadership of Léon Krier and in the US by the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). Drawing in prominent transatlantic urbanist Paul Murrain, the Foundation sought to position itself as the organisation best able to deliver these policies. In fact it was quite clear that it was the only such organisation, as the Modernist architectural establishment - practitioners and schools - had repeatedly shown itself to be resolutely opposed to all such things. By 2003, the team had grown in ability and size and was ready to take on large scale projects, including large urban extensions to Harlow, Northampton, Cherry Knowle in Sunderland and Aldershot.


We now need to backtrack to 1990, in order to follow the development of Poundbury, the urban extension presaged in A Vision of Britain and which was quietly developing while Press attention was focused on events in London.

The Duchy of Cornwall, a huge area of manorial lands in the rich south west of England was granted to the Prince of Wales in the 14th century to provide the heir to the throne with a source of income. By 1990 it had become somewhat of a backwater, with high unemployment in
Cornwall itself and small market towns elsewhere well out of the range of London commuters. Nevertheless, expansion of these towns continued in a modest manner, usually following the construction of bypasses. One such was at Dorchester, county town of Dorset. In the mid 1980s the Prince had been invited to open a development just inside the bypass. Entirely conventional in the worst manner, this large expanse of undistinguished suburban building led him to declare that it should never happen again in the Duchy.

Market towns such as
Dorchester gradually became the most favoured places in which to reside as better roads made them able to attract a wider range of activities from nearby towns and villages. Dorchester needed to grow more, and from 1990 it was planned to expand to the west. The Prince took a keen interest, and engaged Léon Krier to masterplan the settlement. Krier had emerged in the 1970s as an increasingly focussed critic of Modernist architecture. Aided by cartoonish sketches in the manner of Corbusier, Krier lampooned the desperately stylish attempts of Modernism to remain 'cool' and controversial.

Image 3

  At Poundbury, working with the engineers Alan Baxter Associates, Krier planned a series of neighbourhoods within 5 minutes walk of local services. Streets bent and twisted to reduce vehicle speeds to 20 mph without a single traffic sign. Houses were built up to the street alignments to define and enclose public space. Parking was hidden in quiet courtyards behind the houses. Architecture mirrored regional styles, with a sober and carefully regulated palette of colours and materials.
Poundbury was launched into the great property slump of 1992, in which those in the South East saw hundreds of thousands of pounds wiped off the value of their homes in a matter of weeks. Repossessions were widespread. Poundbury looked like a hopeless dream.
But then through the 1990s, economic growth came back to the south of England, gradually at first and then in a flood. Now where to put all the people who wanted to live in commuter range of
London became a pressing problem. Some - suffering perhaps from amnesia of the 1960s and the problems that such structures had brought - advanced futuristic skyscrapers as the solution, but it was not a popular choice. Suddenly, attention focussed on Poundbury, which had been growing at double conventional density with a high degree of market acceptance. From the butt of Modernist jokes ('toy town', 'Disneyland' and so on) Poundbury suddenly became a model for the future development of British towns and villages. This is the demand that the Foundation's team under Paul Murrain is attempting to satisfy.


The acronym INTBAU - for International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism - was a working name we used during the development period that stuck before any of us could think of something a bit more zippy. It sounds vaguely Teutonic, though my German friends say it sounds like the name of a scaffolding company. My mother, something of a Francophile, suggested that we add the word "environment" to the mix to make INTBEAU, but this was rejected by the Steering Committee and the acronym stayed. We'd welcome suggestions for improvement, but recognise that we have over three years of worldwide publicity under this name, and that it would be a difficult change to make with our limited resources.

The research project which led to the establishment of the organisation was the initiative of Ben Bolgar, Robert Adam and several others after the Vision of Europe conference and exhibition entitled "The Other Modern" held in Bologna in March 2000. I was appointed in September 2000 and funded by Norwegian property investor Petter Olsen.

INTBAU is directed by a 14-person international management committee including a Briton, a Scot, a German, a Norwegian, a Portuguese, an Italian and an Egyptian. Some of the committee members 'double up' nationalities and thus we have a Cuban-American, a Polish-Norwegian, a Portuguese-Luxembourgeois and a Bosnian-New Zealander. I am Australian, and though I'm now resident in the UK I nominally represent Australia, though we also have some good contacts there. We are currently in the process of registering as a Charity (non-profit) in the UK and HRH The Prince of Wales has agreed to become our Patron.

My research showed that there was no international organisation aiming to do what we wanted to do. Existing international organisations were dominated, I felt, by an outdated formalised academic approach that stultified new work on old buildings and isolated research in academia. Thus the International Conference On Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) while doing valuable work in listing and restoring ancient buildings actually promotes Modernist interventions in historic areas, as do ICCROM, UNESCO and similar treaty organisations. Academic organisations like the US-based Vernacular Architecture Forum remain strictly devoted to historical study, while the Berkeley-based International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE) - a promising title I'm sure you'll agree, and an organisation which originally did what the name suggests and studied traditional environments - now seems hopelessly captured by the academic jargon of post-modernism. Nevertheless at the national level there were a series of promising partner organisations, which I'll mention shortly

While the traditional architecture and urbanism movement has been quite successful in the States already, in other countries traditional design is suppressed by the infiltration of self-appointed 'experts' with a particular Modernist design agenda. There is little opportunity for democratic choice in the housing market in many European countries, for instance, and most housing development is passed through governmental planning and design filters which actively promote Modernist solutions. There is not the element of choice that has been so useful to the US movement, and often little tradition of citizen involvement in planning of new developments.

The results of this rigid expert-based approach is not readily seen by decision-makers, as they typically reside in the historic centres of cities that have in the last 30 years become the residential areas of choice for those in architecture and planning. These remain compact, walkable and richly endowed with excellent urbane historic buildings, usually very well protected and maintained. If you are one of the influential elite then new building and new urban growth happens somewhere else and to someone else. Development on the fringe - which follows US sprawl typologies more or less explicitly - is out of sight of the influential members of society. This urban pattern, of wealthy centre and poor peripheries is also the norm in Australia/New Zealand, neither of which has suffered the city centre decay common in the US. But more of this later in this paper.

We felt that the need for an organisation that advances the cause of traditional design was pressing in much of the world. INTBAU aims to facilitate this cause by linking together both interested individuals and existing national organisations, and providing a supportive environment for isolated practitioners. We work closely with the a range of organisations worldwide, including the Traditional Architecture Group (UK), Institute for Classical Architecture & Classical America, Congress for the New Urbanism, Council for European Urbanism, A Vision of Europe, Byens Fornyelse, The Prince’s Foundation, Urban Conservation in Islamic Settlements (UCIS), and an Australasian group known as Urbanism DownUnder (UDU).


One of the early tasks of the Management Committee was to formulate a Charter (see inset) which defined our mission. It's pretty much self-explanatory and has been described as "innocuous"!  It is however a most succinct expression of our philosophy.


The International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism is an active network of individuals and institutions dedicated to the creation of humane and harmonious buildings and places that respect local traditions.

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Traditions allow us to recognise the lessons of history, enrich our lives and offer our inheritance to the future. Local, regional and national traditions retain the uniqueness of communities in the advance of globalisation. Through tradition we can preserve our sense of identity and counteract social alienation. People must have the freedom to maintain their traditions.

Traditional buildings and places maintain a balance with nature and society that has been developed over many generations. They enhance our quality of life and are a proper reflection of modern society. Traditional buildings and places can offer a profound modernity beyond novelty and look forward to a better future.

INTBAU brings together those who design, make, maintain, study or enjoy traditional building, architecture and places. We will gain strength, significance and scholarship by association, action and the dissemination of our principles.

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During the research phase, various people advised us not to use the word 'tradition', as the term was felt to play into the hands of our opponents who believed that tradition was a stuffy old-fashioned sounding word with bad associations. We thought differently, and eventually realised that it actually defined our philosophy very neatly. Partly from a desire to be clear, and also because all the alternatives were horrible mealy-mouthed, we chose to adopt the name as self-identification.

Tradition is not a static or fixed idea. The word has roots in the Latin "tradere" to hand on: it's a dynamic thing. Traditions can be modern, and you can invent new ones, as Eric Hobsbawm's seminal 1983 work "The Invention of Tradition"
[3] made clear. To be a tradition something simply has to be mutually agreed, based in the past, consciously handed on, and sustainable. Traditions enable the definition of cultural difference. [4]  It's hard to imagine archaeologists making much headway in interpreting cultures without tradition. Though the definition of tradition is seen by some to be recursive, it is hard to define in any other way.

The main problem facing traditional architects is that Modernists now occupy most of the university chairs and most of the government departments regulating building around the world. Most of the codes and regulations in existence have been written by Modernists. These are often surprisingly explicit at banning traditional architecture, even in conservation zones. In Modernist-dominated architectural schools, history is taught as dead material not a resource for design. Conversely, Modernist architecture - once a vital movement concerned with improving living standards - has become at once ossified, self-referential and obsessed with novelty.

Despite the claims of its supporters, Modernism is not the only contemporary style, as it's self evidently true that anything we do today is modern. We deny that there is one 'spirit of the age' to which art and architecture must adhere. We cannot anticipate where history will take us, or how it will be written: to do so is simple teleology. Modernism has become overly concerned with novelty at the expense of continuity, and styles in the Modernist academy changed as rapidly as those of Nike sneakers. Globalised architectural firms created their own 'brands': having a Gehry, a Koolhaas, a Libeskind or a Foster became as important to cities as for a teenager to have the right mobile phone.  Modernism claims to be revolutionary, even as it serves the worst of Western corporations. Once vital and international, it is increasingly a reactionary and conventional response perfectly attuned to the needs of late capitalism. Its early universalism has devolved to a confusion of private languages impermeable to interrogation by the public.

Contemporary teaching of architecture gives too much emphasis to stylistic concerns, is carried out in the absence of engagement with the public. Design is taught independently from the teaching of architectural history and design, and alienates students who want to learn about traditional design. We think it's time for change.

Globalisation and Local Identity

Globalisation is a clearly a force to be reckoned with for proponents of traditional architecture and urbanism. Certainly it appears to be here to stay, and has some benefits, not least travel and communications. But it has important side effects that threaten communities and cultures around the world. The international market means that production is more mobile than are most workers. Volkswagen may well decide to make its cars in Poland, for example, but most Western European countries have enacted restrictive legislation against immigration by Poles even when they become members of the expanded EU. Capital will locate production in the places where labour is cheapest. Recently this principle has begun to affect the more repetitive and straightforward of professional tasks. Architectural drafting, legal searches, engineering calculations and others have recently been relocated to India and China, sending a cold wind through the middle classes. Conversely, those whose position in the economic ant heap means they are mobile, tend to choose locations in the most attractive traditional cities and towns.

Tradition is also increasingly important in a globalising world of increasing homogeneity. Traditions are constructed as part of group identity, providing a meaningful point of differentiation for local regions. It offers individuals an identity and a means of defining their own culture. It can be a peaceful means for local communities to resist the effects of globalisation by regional differentiation, and preserves dignity in the face of global hegemony by powerful countries and corporations.

Traditional cities are threatened by the spread of globalised architectural styles originating in the major economies of the industrialised world. Traditional craftsmanship is endangered by building designs in which construction is reduced to repetitive assembly of industrialised components by unskilled workers. Instead of cultural and contextual sensitivity we see senior Modernist practitioners attempt to create what amounts to globalised or 'branded' architectural styles.

Careful maintenance of traditional buildings is a central strategy for many successful cities and regions distinguishing themselves in the new global economy. These cities know that traditional buildings help to create an environment that attracts highly mobile skilled labour, and provide flexibility for adaptation and change to accommodate the networks of small inter-related enterprises that characterise successful economies. In less successful regions, traditional building, architecture and urban design skills are urgently needed to repair and maintain historic cities, towns and landscapes. Tradition also offers a means of maintaining the individuality and strength of local economies in the face of economic pressure to lower the cost of production.

INTBAU Activities

Atelier Neumarkt Dresden 2001
Late in 2000, Gessellschaft Historischer Neumarkt Dresden (GHND, Association for the Historic Dresden Newmarket), founded by Berlin architect Rüdiger Patzschke and others, approached INTBAU to help them find architects sympathetic to traditional architecture to join the Dresdeners and their friends in the UK and abroad in the international campaign for a reconstruction of the Neumarkt in traditional style.  Groups of architects visited Dresden in March to be briefed about the history of the city and the Neumarkt, and to be allocated a site for a project.

The architects prepared exemplary design proposals in the Dresden style for sites where the original buildings could not be accurately documented, and for which some interpretation was required.  The designs were presented at a press conference held in Dresden on
4 May 2001, attended by members of GHND, representatives of INTBAU, and several of the participating architects. HRH The Prince of Wales issued a statement that was read out at the press conference. In the first weeks of June 2001, Gabriele Tagliaventi of A Vision of Europe involved his students at the University of Ferrara in producing a plan for the whole Neumarkt area, based on the designs for individual buildings presented on 4 May. The student project clarified the master plan for the reconstruction and established the viability of the scheme.

INTBAU's involvement and that of the Prince drew attention to the issue and strengthened the resolve of  those arguing for a historic reconstruction. The most recent proposal for the area, by Prisco, includes historic reconstructions for a number of facades. Archaeological reconstruction of the first of a number of Leitbau in the area has also recently begun.

Scandinavian Summer School, Fredrikstad 2002
The FMV shipyard in Fredrikstad was an economic victim of the recent movement of shipbuilding and ship repair to the Far East, and the site of the abandoned shipyard has remained largely vacant since 1989.  The 2,500 jobs lost by the closure - largely skilled manual workers - have been replaced on the site by 2,500 new jobs in high-tech manufacturing, office and tertiary study, but the new buildings containing these uses occupy less than 5% of the site area.  The sprawling town, though only 1 hour by car or rail from the capital Oslo, is not considered a desirable place to live by Norwegians and there is little inward migration and no population growth, despite progressive environmental policies. [5]

The shipyard site is located on the island of Kråkerøy, across a narrow canal from the city centre, and suffers from difficult access by road.  A new pedestrian bridge associated with recent masterplan based on luxury apartments has been constructed, but the plan is in abeyance following poor sales.  A proposed new road bridge funded by the state will improve access to the site but there is no indication of when it will be implemented.  It is also apparent that at current rates of growth the shipyard site would take many years to build out.

Image 4

  Participants in the INTBAU Summer School devised a strategy for flexible subdivision and disposal of land that could be adapted to changing market conditions over time. Central to the proposal - originated by the participants, and since developed further - is a walkable street network.  The site lies between outlying suburbs and the city centre and the construction of a linking road through the site would allow a shorter journey for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to the existing city centre. The generation of movement of people is central to the strategy for activating the site.
The proposal includes both waterfront sites and sites for apartment blocks. All buildings will be in timber framed construction, for reasons of sustainability and so that they may easily be relocated should it become desirable to build to a higher density in future.

The limited amount of commercial space in the development is located on the main movement spine, and placed so that the majority of new buildings are within 400m, or a five minutes' walk of most residential sites.  The efficiency of the connected street layout in reducing walking distances is marked in comparison to adjoining post-war suburbs with their dendritic street layouts.

The scheme was presented to the site owners and municipality both at the summer school and again in December 2002 following further development of the scheme.  Both owner and municipality are enthusiastic about the ideas shown, which have changed their view of the potential of the site.  Further development of the proposal is expected in the future.

Transylvanian Development Workshop, Laslea 2003
Transylvania is the fertile elevated plateau bounded by the Carpathian Mountains that forms the centre of the European country of Romania, bounded by Moldova, Ukraine, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria. Romania's 22 million inhabitants have amongst the lowest per capita incomes in Europe. Poverty means that few chemicals are used, and the landscapes are rich in species - from butterflies and wildflowers to European Lynx, bears and wolves - which have entirely vanished from much of Europe. Similarly, there are thousands of villages entirely preserved from the destructive planning of the 20th century.

But Romania will join the European Union in the next few years, and the landscape and villages will be subject to huge developmental and social pressures. INTBAU went to Transylvania to work with other charitable organisations to help one village plan for the future. The intention is to carry the planning work forward over the next two years to create a series of pilot planning projects in advance of the arrival of the industrial agriculture, rural depopulation and sprawl urbanism common elsewhere in the West.

The 'Saxon' Villages of Transylvania are named after the so-called 'Saxons' (from the Rhein-Mosel region, near present-day Luxembourg) who were invited to settle in
Transylvania from the 12th century and initially established seven towns which controlled key routes and transport links. In ensuing centuries the group developed hundreds of villages based on a mediaeval system of land division comprising a series of long narrow plots fronting onto a single wide main street.

Each plot belonged to an individual villager, and houses were built in distinct and ancient pattern with houses abutting the northern boundary of each site opening to a walled courtyard on the south. Behind the house, stables and barns closed the courtyard, beyond which the villagers established vegetable gardens, orchards and crops, typically finishing with a row of walnut trees. Behind the plots, on the upper valley sides, was located common land including grazing, terraces for grapes, orchards and hay, with managed woodland on the higher hills. This pattern was maintained continuously during seven centuries.

The retreating German Army in 1944 took some Saxons with it, beginning an exodus that accelerated during the ensuing 45 years of Communist rule. Impoverished Romania 'sold' emigrants to West Germany, which accepted all ethnic Germans under the laws of 1913, then still intact. After the collapse of the Ceausescu regime in 1989, most remaining Saxons took advantage of these laws and returned to Germany. Today only 10% of a post-war population of 800,000 remain. Those moving to the area now include Romanians moving from the cities after the collapse of state industries, holiday-home buyers and Roma people.

The INTBAU Transylvanian Village Development Workshop, organised with the assistance of the Norwegian Foundation for Architecture and Urbanism (Byens Fornyelse) was held in the mediaeval village of Laslea, administrative centre of the
municipality of Laslea, Transylvania, Romania, in late summer 2003. INTBAU collaborated with a range of existing organisations including the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, the local municipality and the British Charity Mihai Eminescu Trust (MET), supported by HRH The Prince of Wales, who has visited Transylvania several times. Local partners in the Workshop included the Municipality of Laslea, and the local community whose hospitality and enthusiasm was greatly appreciated. The workshop project was funded by The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Norwegian Directorate for Heritage, Byens Fornyelse and private sponsors.

The purpose of the INTBAU Transylvanian Development Workshop project was to assist the long-term sustain
able development of the Saxon villages, with emphasis on ecological tourism and organic farming. The participants analysed the villages, and produced a preliminary New Urbanist masterplan for future development of the village including the integration of heritage preservation and sustainable development. The final masterplan will include design guidance for new traditional buildings inside the village and for those in future sustainable urban extensions. The masterplan is not only intended as a fixed plan for development, but also as a guide for the future of the region.

The workshop comprised a series of elements intended to inform the participants about key aspects of the region, its history, people and architecture. These included tours of the region’s architecture of Saxon houses and fortified churches with expert commentary from Romanian specialists, visits to fortified churches and to Saxon houses renovated by the MET, and to a model farm demonstrating sustainable ‘micro-farming’ techniques.

There was an extensive public consultation programme as part of the Workshop, which was based in the Caminul Cultural (Cultural Centre) in the heart of the village, allowing citizens to drop in at any time. More formal events included an evening public meeting attended by the Mayor, Councillors and 140 citizens of Laslea, to hear from the community about local issues, problems and ideas for the future, an informal presentation of ‘work in progress’ to receive feedback from the community on draft proposals, attended by around 30 residents, and a public exhibition on the final evening of the workshop to present the proposed masterplan and supporting documentation and listen to community views.

During the workshop a questionnaire on attitudes to cultural heritage commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, was conducted by participants under the direction of London based planner/urban designer Susan Parham assisted by Terje Nypan of the Directorate. The results influenced the overall design Masterplan.

Image 5

  The Masterplan produced by the participants included proposals for elements as basic as drainage and water supply and as sophisticated as Internet terminals and mobile phone networks. Significant cultural landscapes and historic built form should be preserved in order to develop the region's tourist potential. Specific recommendations for local enterprise including a market, workshops, and enhancements to others were included as well as practical assistance and training in building construction and maintenance. An information centre will be established in the village in 2004-5 in order to facilitate information, tourism and training.

Further projects
Projects are in development in Iraq-al-Amir in Jordan, Mumbai in India, Olinda in Brazil and elsewhere. Readers interested in becoming involved are invited to contact INTBAU.

Email discussion forums
INTBAU promotes and maintains a number of email discussion forums, including the TradArch and Pro-Urb lists based in the US, and its own Euro-Urb, Laslea, Education and other groups.

INTBAU serves as a clearing house for a multitude of enquiries about education, and hosts on its website the only international directory of courses in traditional architecture in existence. In addition, we have run a successful pilot short course in classical architecture at the University of Greenwich that was widely praised by students. The course will be run at three universities this year. It is intended as an analytical exercise in which students can begin to understand the classical Orders of architecture and how they were used historically in traditional buildings. The idea is to give future designers a basic understanding of the principles underlying the existing traditional buildings that will form the bulk of their work in practice.

We will shortly be launching a PhD programme in Traditional Architecture and Urbanism, validated by the University of Wales and operated through the Prince's
School of Traditional Arts. We also aim to have an INTBAU Visiting Professorship in Traditional Architecture and Urbanism at an inner London school of architecture in the near future.

4. Contemporary Urban Problems


'Sprawl' is a complex problem that threatens the long term viability of cities around the world. It is driven by the ubiquity of oil-based transport, but it is also the result of a century of disconnected Modernist thinking about cities which is increasingly discredited. In the last fifty years, office parks, business parks, residential culs-de-sac, superstores, hypermarkets and peripheral motorways have covered much of Europe and have become the daily experience of life for many Europeans.

European planners and academics have long recognised sprawl development as a complex problem, but so far little has been done to combat its effects.
In the US by contrast commentators [6] and organisations [7] have made continuous public attacks on sprawl. A broadly based group gathering planners, architects, developers, environmentalists and members of the public behind the banner of New Urbanism has been working hard to develop practical solutions to the problem. The movement focuses on physical design and practical action supported by public involvement, and has made rapid progress.

The movement's aim is to reduce the dependence on oil in the transport sector. It is
neither nostalgic nor romantic, but based on a principled theoretical position.

Disturbingly, amongst European academic architects and planners, sprawl is seen as interesting and even inspiring.
[8]  Those interested in the sustainability of European cities should be on their guard against such a defeatist view. Let us first examine what we are building now.

The Modernist city
Modernist planning is characterised by separation: shopping areas are separated from residential areas, residential areas from office parks, office parks from industrial estates, and so on. Traffic engineering rules prohibit interconnection of different modes. Zoning separates uses into 'pods', separated physically from the places where people live. The net effect of these decisions is to greatly increase the number and length of trips required in daily life, which results in a greater number of vehicle movements for a given number of components. [9]

The origin of this relentless separation of uses can be traced to the 19th century success in improving public health by technical means, starting with the separation of sewers and water supplies. This fed paranoia about cleanliness and about tidiness and order. The end result of this mania for order and cleanliness came in the eugenics of the 1930s.

Planning soon sought the authority implied in the rationalist and 'scientific' approach. Experts began to define their areas of expertise. Analyses were made of residential density, traffic flows, healthiness and occupation, first as research and then as regulation. From their own expert criteria, experts began to rationalise city form into simplistic terms possible with the limited conceptual structures and crude controls of the time.

The split between engineering and planning
The emergence of large numbers of motor cars in the 20th century led to the emergence of the 'scientific' discipline of traffic engineering. Traffic engineers applied simplistic Cartesian thinking to problems of traffic flows across systems as complex as whole cities. The limitations of Newtonian mathematics meant that it was not possible to quantify flows on a complex network, so the system was imagined as a series of self-contained pods. From analysis it was a short step to planning over- simplified diagrammatic road layouts. Traffic flows could be quantified, and that meant certainty in a litigious world.

Car-dependent planning is based on an assumption of oil use that is clearly unsupportable in the long term. The production of oil has now peaked and is expected to begin a gradual decline over the 21st century. Clearly, cities and regions dependent on the private car will be likely to suffer, as transport becomes increasingly expensive. Many low-income households in urban peripheries - out of walking range of services - and which must own and maintain one or more cars in order to carry out their daily lives will be
reduced to poverty.

fig1.jpg (83454 Byte)
Fig. 1
The dominance of car-dependent planning is revealed by current movement statistics, which show that the private car is the main means of transport in urban areas of Europe, although a much higher percentage of trips are made by walking and cycling than in the US.  There is no single reason for this, but it must be assumed that the survival of walkable street networks in the centres of traditional European cities is a major reason. Unlike the blighted inner cities of the US, city centres in Europe are mostly well populated, if largely gentrified.

Conventional Suburban Development
Suburban sprawl - known in the US as Conventional Suburban Development (CSD) - is not a 'natural' response to freedom of choice but rather the result of a fragmented and regimented planning and construction process dominated by a technocratic expert culture of specialisms.

CSD emerges in the
absence of a clear consensus about future development. In the CSD system, houses, offices, shops, factories and schools are all rigidly segregated with their own pattern of roads connected only to an arterial road. The rigid separation of uses and the dendritic street pattern produced, mans very long travel distances for the necessities of daily life. Most journeys are by car as few people can be bothered walking the long distances created by the culs-de-sac and hierarchical road system, or through the dismal pedestrian environments typical of CSD. Parents (usually mothers) become taxi drivers for their offspring.

Can we overturn this massively entrenched system? As we saw at the beginning of this article, some architects and planners think we can. We are drawing lessons from the structure of successful traditional cities and towns, and applying the principles to contemporary problems. The remainder of this article will examine some of the principles of this movement.

Return of the 'Walking City'
In the heady environment of London in 1964, the fashionable young Modernist architect Ron Herron of Archigram proposed a comical giant mobile building that he termed the 'Walking City'. The image was a paradigmatic if intentionally ludicrous exemplar of the profligate use of energy assumed in Modernist planning. From the City Beautiful period until the oil crisis of 1973, most planning projections and the majority of built schemes were based on a model in which the bulk of transport was to be by private car. Images of the Ville Radieuse or Ville Contemporaine of Le Corbusier show pedestrian paths, but walking is evidently considered to be a secondary role - a leisure activity - as evidenced by the serpentine paths. Clearly pedestrians are not thought to be in a hurry. By contrast, cars are given wide straight roads, divided rigorously into seven use categories. Illustrations show cars travelling at high speed: these are urban highways, not streets.

These were very influential images for architects and town planners, but the massive tower blocks in parks and superhighways were not the only significant proposals. More important were two innovations implied by the drawings: the reversal of the spatial system of the traditional city, and the division of the city into planning (buildings) and engineering (roads). Early Modernist city projects such as these reconceptualised city space as a field occupied by object buildings, in contrast to traditional city space in which buildings define and enclose space.

Professor Bill Hillier, director of the innovative British planning consultancy Space Syntax observes that the space in cities is of only two kinds: continuous (movement spaces) and discontinuous (building plots). In all landscapes, the discontinuous spaces (plots) define the outlines of the continuous spaces (roads and movement corridors).
[10]  Hillier and his team have developed software which analyses the connectivity of street networks. Working from the assumption that each turn into a branching street reduces the connectivity by one level, the Space Syntax software produces a complex series of calculations to assess the connectivity of each street to every other street in the network. The results, displayed graphically, give a strong indication of the streets best connected. Applied to existing city plans, the model predicts very successfully which will be the busiest streets.

In traditional settlements, the buildings themselves define the roads. The reason for such compact development is clearly due to the high land values within walking distance of a town centre. Beyond this distance, land values fell to a level below which land was rarely fully developed. This is to be a feature of all human urbanism, defined by the distance people are prepared to walk on a regular basis, about 400 metres or a five minute walk. [11]  Traditional cities tend to develop as a series of 'neighbourhoods' or 'urban quarters' of around 800 metres in diameter, or about 40 hectares. Studies of traditional cities around the world demonstrate the ubiquity of this pattern. The boundaries of neighbourhoods are not usually physically defined, but their centres - typically comprising a parish church, town hall, market, school and other public buildings - are usually found to be around 800m apart. This seems relatively constant factor of human urbanism, defined by the limits of the body itself.

New traditional urbanism seeks a return to urban form in which daily necessities are placed within walking distance of houses and offices, following this elemental principle. It is clear that a reasonable density is required to support such facilities. Similarly, an interconnected network of streets is necessary to minimise walking distances between all points in the urban quarter, as we cannot hope to predict where so many people will want to go. This is a seemingly obvious point, but one that is missed in the dendritic circulation patterns of CSD. These two elements - the 40 hectare neighbourhood and the interconnected network of streets - are fundamental elements of all new traditional urbanism. The 'Walking City' of new traditional urbanism is not a Modernist fantasy of control, but a principle which gives dignity and mobility to people young and old, rich and poor.

New Urbanism
In the early 1990s, working with a small group of colleagues, the Florida-based firm Duany and Plater-Zyberk (DPZ) that had designed Seaside in 1980 began running conferences on urbanism. This new focus on city building was soon dubbed 'new' urbanism. In 1994 DPZ were part of the group that founded the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). The CNU was founded around the Charter for the New Urbanism, a twelve-point programme for the re-establishment of urbanism in the United States. [12]

In Europe, the movement began to form in the emotionally charged development world of the mid 20th century, as dissatisfaction with destructive Modernist interventions in historic cities crystallised in massive public protests. In Brussels from 1959, developer Charles Depauw and local politician Paul Vanden Boeynants began wholesale demolition of the historic Quartier Nord, intending to replace the traditional neighbourhood with Corbusian tower blocks and highways. The plan was widely condemned and the term 'Bruxellisation' became the antonym of the movement for urban conservation. A similar proposal to level London's much-loved Covent Garden was defeated in 1968. Paris was not so lucky, and the soixante-huitards were unable to save Les Halles (demolished in August 1970) or prevent the construction of the hated east-west expressway on the banks of the Seine.

The movement to reconstruct the European city was epitomised in the Rue de Laeken project in
Brussels of 1989-1995. In Rue de Laeken the Tour Bleu, a hated skyscraper was demolished and replaced by new buildings built in a variety of muted classical styles by a group of young European architects. The scheme replaced the area of the demolished tower in a series of four and five storey buildings around the perimeter of the site. The quality of the buildings and the mix of uses contrasts with the poor quality of much British urban infill. Both Modernists and traditionalists recently expressed disappointment at Sir William Whitfield's sterile new Paternoster Square project adjoining St Paul's Cathedral in London.

5. Conclusion

Two key issues are expected to emerge this century: declining populations and declining oil supplies. Both will threaten cities in which people cannot walk or cycle to their daily needs. Can we really expect public transport to function with a far more widely and thinly distributed population? The evidence is against it.

The sprawling car-dependant cities developed in the post-war period are already failing in economic terms. The conurbation of Glasgow, for example, a shining paradigm of Modernist planning - high rise towers in green parks and the last inner-city motorway program in Europe - lost a third of its population in the last 30 years. Such huge and placeless car-dependent cities have been unable to attract either mobile professional people or mobile capital investment.

Conversely, those areas in which walkable street networks and traditional buildings have been preserved have been able to survive for thousands of years. New traditional urbanist principles of permeable street networks and neighbourhoods based on walkable dimensions can, be successfully applied to solve many of the problems introduced into European cities by traffic engineering and planning based on zoning.
[13] The newly-formed Council for European Urbanism aims to spread this message.

Solving the problem of car-dependency will be a major issue for city and national governments in the coming century. The world's oil is running out, and alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cells seem likely to prolong the system for only a limited time and at high cost. The principle of connectivity embodied in walkable networks, supported by a clear definition of private and public realm, provides maximum opportunity for the development of the range of individual paths and connections that are necessary to self-actualisation for individuals.

European regions with strong industrial economies have become those with the ugliest landscapes of car-dependent sprawl. Here, regional economies are based on tightly knit groups of small companies, which rely almost without exception upon road transport for the delivery of goods and products. Their location in mono-functional sprawl requires most of their employees to drive to and from work.

But the industrial era in Europe is already nearing and end. Northern England, Northern France, much of Belgium, the Ruhrgeb
iet in Germany and the industrial areas of Eastern Europe are already in severe difficulty. Cities are shrinking in population are at the same time expanding in physical size: in the Veneto, the Po Valley, the Paris basin, the Netherlands, South-East England, the Alpine valleys of Switzerland, Austria, France and Italy, and around countless other European cities, sprawl landscapes are actively under construction. This is obviously unsustainable with declining populations expected over the next century in Europe.

The future of sprawl Europe, with its disconnected street networks, car-dependency and unattractive places seems very doubtful. The historic centres of European cities are robust and sustainable, as their great longevity makes clear. Conversely, the landscapes of the peripheries and areas with poorly performing economies - central France, parts of Spain, the west of England and Wales, the agricultural parts of Eastern Europe - retain compact settlements, coherent road networks and minimal urban sprawl, and have great potential for sustainable urban development in future.

Traditional urbanism is like other organisms a system of simple parts that can be combined to produce an infinite variety of urban forms. It is a complex system made of simple parts that can be easily replicated. It is resilient and adaptable: traditional cities have been more or less continuously inhabited for 2 millennia. The individual elements of traditional urbanism - the houses and buildings - are made of simple materials that, though not necessarily particularly durable, can be readily repaired with materials that are easily found or simply made and used over a period of thousands of years. Progressive modifications to small elements have not damaged the viability of the whole. The current generation of architects and planners must learn from the examples of the past, and not try to carry forward the destructive paradigms of Modernist architecture and urbanism.



A. INTBAU Membership
INTBAU invites anyone who accepts, publicly acknowledges and at all times acts in accordance with the principles and spirit of the Charter, to become an INTBAU Member. The bulk of our membership options are free, or on the basis of a quid pro quo. For example, if you put a prominent link on your organisation's website, we do the same for your organisation and that qualifies it for Supporter membership. Individuals can register for free general membership by using our online registration form. We encourage members to be actively involved, and we are happy to consider proposals from any member. Please drop us a line if you have something interesting to discuss: we'd love to help, even if it's just to put you in touch with other members.

B. INTBAU Website
Visit http://www.intbau.org for further information, or contact Dr Matthew Hardy by email at mhardy@princes-foundation.org


C. Notes

[1] Many transport specialists talk of options and alternatives to the private car. Julia Meaton and Simon Kingham argue that this has proven largely ineffective.  Motorists are highly resistant to giving up their cars or even reducing their use: '[Drivers] offer a whole range of reasons for this, but these are often excuses to justify their use of a highly convenient and flexible mode of transport…'.   Meaton & Kingham,  'Children’s Perception of Transport Modes: Car Culture in the Classroom?', in World Transport Policy and Practice vol. 2, no. 4, 1998.

[2] HRH The Prince of Wales, Speech to the Royal Gala Evening at Hampton Court Palace, on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 30 May 1984. Source for this and all of the Prince of Wales's speeches is www.princeofwales.gov.uk

[3] Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds.), "The Invention of Tradition", Cambridge, 1983.

[4] Whereas customs are simply what people mostly do at a particular time.  Customs can become traditions once their practical justification has ceased.

[5] The town was the location for a meeting of EU local authority planners that produced the Fredrikstad Declaration of 1998, which binds them to a range of environmental policies.

[6] The most strident critic is James Kunstler, whose writings include The Geography of Nowhere, the rise and decline of America's man-made landscape, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993; Home From Nowhere. Remaking our everyday world for the twenty-first century, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1996; and The City in Mind, Meditations on the urban condition, Free Press, New York, 2002.  Other critical works include Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck, Suburban Nation, the rise of sprawl and the death of the American dream, North Point Press, New York, 2001; and Peter Calthorpe, The next American Metropolis, ecology, communities, and the American dream, Princeton, New York, 1993; and with William Fulton, The Regional City, planning for the end of sprawl, Island Press, Washington, 2000

[7] Notably by the Congress for the New Urbanism, http://www.cnu.org and more recently by the Smart Growth movement, http://www.smartgrowth.org

[8] Notably by Rem Koolhaas, but also by others in the Low Countries.  See for example Rem Koolhaas, S, M, L, XL, Monacelli Press, New York, 1995; Xaveer de Geyter Architects, After-Sprawl, NAI, 2002.

[9] David Crofts, speaking at First Australia and New Zealand Congress on the New Urbanism, Melbourne, Australia, 26 April 2001.

[10] This division is usually the oldest feature of any occupied landscape, as British landscape archaeologist Oliver Rackham notes.

[11] This observation is confirmed by recent traffic studies, which find that people will tend to drive to a destination if the walking time is perceived to be more than 8 minutes.

[12] See www.cnu.org
for the wording of the Charter.

[13] A new organisation, the Council for European Urbanism, was formed in Bruges on 6 April 2003 in order to promote traditional European urbanism.  See http://www.intbau.org/CEU.htm



Image 1: Class of 1997 in the courtyard at the rear of Gloucester Gate.
Students came from a wide range of countries, many on scholarships.
Photo credit: Richard Ivey

Image 2: Roof structure of shelter, Upton Grey, built by students of the Foundation Course in Architecture and the Building Arts.
Photo credit: Richard Ivey

3:  Houses at Poundbury, Dorchester, England.
Photo credit: The Prince's Foundation

Image 4: Proposal for the staged development of former shipyard, Fredrikstad, Norway, by participants at INTBAU Scandinavian Summer School, 2002.
Image credit: Image ©INTBAU 2002

Image 5: Preliminary masterplan for Laslea, Transylvania, Romania, produced by participants at the INTBAU Transylvanian Development Workshop, 2003.
Image credit: Image ©INTBAU 2003



Vol. 8, No. 2 (March 2004)