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The history of the creation of Milton Keynes, in the 1970s, is too often neglected. It is perhaps true that there have proved to be few outstanding successes amongst the housing designed at this time, even though they were very well received by architects at the time! On the other hand one or two of them, such as here Marshworth, more than make up for the rest. The pity is that these gems are neglected, not least by English partnerships who - perhaps coincidentally at the time when the 30 year rule would have opened them to outside inspection - rushed to destroy the archives relating to them!
Accordingly, this project explores the development over time of the 24 bungalows built on this street at the very beginning of the the city's growth. They represent an almost uniquely successful example of 'buildings which learn'.
Indeed, the more important lessons reported here predate the book of twenty years later, by Stewart Brand – ‘How Buildings Learn: what happens after they’re built’ (King Penguin USA, 1994) - and the principles enunciated in that book provide the hidden agenda which shapes this present investigation.
Above all, though, the 'miracle' is that such a pioneering piece of architecture has not just survived for three and a half decades but has matured.
This project is managed by Dr. David Mercer
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