14 January 2011

1946 'Self-measurement' Form

In the aftermath of the Second World War, with the architectural profession optimistic about it's future with the promise of rebuilding the UK's cities, Clough Williams-Ellis published 'The Adventure of Building.' Sir Bertram Clough Williams-Ellis (1883-1978), an English-born Architect, is best known for his work designing and building, in an Italian-style, the village of Portemeirion in North Wales (1925-1975). Within the book Williams-Ellis sets about providing an introduction to the world of architecture and planning, with a focus on providing an insight for "intelligent boys and girls" so that they "may perhaps decide whether [his] much-loved profession is to welcome them."  To aide in helping children make their career decision the book includes a 'self-measurement form' which Williams-Ellis has crossed to mark the qualities he sees are most important for the Architect of 1946 and the future.

'A self-measurement form' Part 1 (Architectural Press, 1946)

The form, devised by Amabel Williams-Ellis, his wife, featured in a book on careers entitled 'What Shall I Be?' and was originally produced by the Hon. Nancy Samuel.

'A self-measurement form' Part 2 (Architectural Press, 1946)

The book doesn't just 'pitch' itself to young persons, as the sub-title suggests - "Being something about Architecture and Planning for intelligent young citizens and their backward elders." William-Ellis is also trying to educate the general public so that they are more informed when discussing architecture and building. In his view the only person who's opinion you should follow or take notice of, regarding architecture, is someone who is inclined "to spend quite a lot of time looking at buildings and thinking and reading about them, trying to sketch them or perhaps even to design others, and always ready to discuss them keenly." His view that it is only "then that person is worth listening to, and will probably talk sense" is rather telling - "He [the educated individual] knows - therefore he probably cares."


Williams-Ellis, C. (1946), The Adventure of Building, 1st Edition, London: Architectural Press