Housing estate : The system of housing estate fundamentally differs from the traditional habitat in that all the units (of a village) are built at the same time, and most importantly by the same developers (with or without architects’ supervision). The result is a standardisation of housing and construction details (window sizes, gutter profiles, woodworks, colours, etc.).
As early as the 60s, American artist Dan Graham criticised the building of residential housing estates, which were very popular in the United States. The list of options, the choice of colours, the formal variations and the wording of combinations revealed the consequences of the progressive industrialisation of construction. The conditioning operated by large firms, the application of standards of modules (cast stones) quickly leads to PRECONCEIVED solutions.
In contrast, the traditional (or vernacular) habitat responds to local needs. Two adjacent houses have no reason to adopt the same window shape, exactly the same roof inclination, the same number of levels, the same height for each storey… these are not planned.
However, they use the same (local) material and the same (technical) equipment. There is no reason to regret the Middle Ages but we must simply acknowledge that the aesthetics of old stones is also the aesthetics of the forms’ invention, of collective intelligence to take advantage of the environment, and adapt ourselves to it (landscape).
This quality, this ability to adapt oneself (an intelligence criteria) can be achieved through the selection of different contractors (one architect per house, for example).