Walter Segal was born in Berlin in 1907, he came to England in the 1930s to study Egyptology and teach at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. The development of his iconic self-build method during the 1960s enabled ordinary people, young and old, to design and build their own houses quickly and cheaply using readily available materials in standard sizes, without the need for specialist wet trades such as bricklaying and plastering.
“Walter’s Way – The Self-Build Revolution”
16 January – 24 March 2016
Opening time: Monday to Friday 10am – 7pm; Saturday 10am – 5pm
Architectural Association School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
In the late 1970s the ‘Segal method’ was adopted by Lewisham Council for an experimental self-building housing project across four sites. This exhibition concentrates on two of the resulting streets, Walter’s Way and Segal Close, which were built under Segal’s personal guidance.
The exhibition is housed in and around a newly constructed section of a Segal house, from which visitors can experience the fundamental elements of the style. They will find original drawings, documents and furniture designed by Segal alongside archival films and photographs, plus contemporary photographs by Taran Wilkhu and a new interpretation of Segal’s technique by 2015 Turner Prize winner Assemble.
There are currently about 200 Segal houses in the UK and there is growing interest today in self-building as a response to the UK’s shortage of affordable homes. Segal’s legacy can be found in various low-cost, quick-build housing innovations such as WikiHouse, Y-Cube, and IKEA flat pack houses, as well as in contemporary housing projects such as RUSS, a community land trust developing a Segal-inspired housing project in Lewisham. Segal’s ideology continues to influence housing thirty years after its creation.
The exhibition is curated by Alice Grahame, an independent journalist and resident of Walter’s Way. It has been developed with guidance and support from Jon Broome, Project Architect on Segal’s Lewisham projects and Co-Founder of Architype, and John Segal, Walter Segal’s son. On show will be much previously unseen furniture designed by Walter Segal, documents and archival photographs of Segal and the self-build schemes, on loan from the Segal family and Jon Broome.