New RIBA book Value in the View - should we protect architectural views?

What is the value in the view? From world famous skylines to postcard vistas, the world’s most celebrated and revered metropolises become known, and defined by, their famous views. Purcell Associate Dr. Tom Brigden has written a RIBA-published book about the philosophies of protecting architectural views. Join us for the launch on Wednesday 17th October 2018.

Cities across the globe are constantly under pressure to develop, to continue to accommodate economic growth, the movement of people and their changing needs. Most often this development features the addition of tall buildings that have a direct impact on the visual character of the city.

One reaction to this is to protect and conserve the familiar visual experience of cities, which is equally celebrated and extremely risky, both politically and financially, for developers, architects, planners and politicians alike.

Value in the view: Conserving Historic Urban Views offers informed insight into this current debate and brings engaging guidance to architects and urban planners on the application of policy and the design of development within historic urban environments.

Author Tom Brigden, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Newcastle University and Associate at Purcell, says:

“Now, more than ever, we need a debate on the impact of tall buildings upon views of our cities. While policies of view protection have been around for some years now, have they been successful at protecting the views which matter most to people? And what are the values embedded within those views? Is shaving the profile of a tall building with respect to rigid sightlines, planes, coordinates and vectors enough, or do we need to re-think what is really important about the sensory experiences of our cities?”

Using six case studies of cities—London, Dresden, St Petersburg, Istanbul and Vancouver— Value in the View questions the ideas that underpin view protection policy: Where did these ideas originate, and what are their consequences?

In doing this, the book seeks to stimulate the debate on the future of historical views—the changing identity of our cities, by examining how ideas of heritage are built, the power they have over the urban and architectural form of contemporary cities, and their right to change.

Flora Samuel, Professor of Architecture in the Built Environment at the University of Reading says: “This is history and theory at its best, put to good use for practice today. Brigden touches on the discourses of the picturesque, surveillance, the tourist gaze, ideas of beauty, art history and branding to make the case for inclusive view management.”