Walter Segal is often cited as the first architect to practice a truly participatory approach – in an era before public participation and user collaboration were accepted as viable or even possible.
Lewisham, in South East London, was the key site for the development of Walter Segal’s timber-framed, self-build houses. Segal’s method allowed inexperienced self-builders to build their own homes quickly and efficiently.
Self-builders included men and women of a variety of ages and backgrounds who were given basic training in building processes not only to improve their skills but also to empower them. Through the physical act of building, the self-builders developed friendships, helped each other and built a strong and lasting community.
The methods and ideals of Walter Segal’s approach continue to be promoted today by the Walter Segal Self-Build Trust.