Walter Segal

Two book projects are contracted and underway in 2019 (see), reflecting the renewed interest in Segal particularly among younger generations, which is seen in a range of events including those mentioned below. 

I spoke at a hugely enjoyable Open House day in September 2015, in Walter’s Way, Lewisham. This was followed up by an exhibition “Walter’s Way: The Self-Build Revolution” at The Architectural Association from 16 January to 13 February 2016. And then in August 2017 a Segal discussion at The Building Centre drew an audience of 150. These three London events were co-ordinated by Alice Grahame, my collaborator in our major current writing project. Meanwhile, in September 2018, there was a Walter Segal exhibition by Dan Teodorovici at the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

On this section of my site, a range of texts about Walter Segal is slowly becoming available, much of which was researched three decades ago. (Scroll down for those available as downloadable pdf files.)


My first book on Segal, whose back cover is seen here, was published 29 years ago and is very difficult to find (Amazon claims to be selling a copy for £126!). Titled Learning from Segal: Walter Segal’s Work and Influence, it was published by Birkhaueser in Switzerland in an English-German edition (Von Segal Lernen: Later Segals Leben, Werk Und Wirkung).  






Discourse on Method   published in 1986, introduces Segal’s system and philosophy in its social context.

Lift High the Roofbeams Carpenters is an appreciation of the work and the unique personality of Segal, written within days of his death in 1985, published in Spazio e Società by Giancarlo De Carlo (in Italian and English) and later in Building Design (London)

Becoming an Architect between the Wars is an academically researched essay about the education offered to Walter Segal and the fascinating ways in which he dealt with it. (This is a large file.) It was published in the prestigious annual Architectural History, and can also be found here.

Epistemology or Who is the Architect? explores what architecture means in our society, or who owns architectural knowledge, through the world of Walter Segal. It was part of an international conference on Epistemology of Architecture taking place on Monte Verità outside Ascona, a location where the young Walter Segal’s world view was being formed eight decades earlier.

E. E. Viollet-le-Duc, the great 19th century thinker (writer, explorer, alpine surveyor, historian, builder and designer of the flèche so recently burned off the roof of Notre-Dame de Paris) is someone one might imagine to be as utterly unlike Segal as you could imagine. Yet, a look at his thoughts on How to Build a House, have remarkable resonances. I wrote a little piece on this over 30 years ago and you can read it (sadly without the illustrations accompanying it in Building Design) here. Its contemporary references are, of course, very dated. Yet I hope it remains of interest.