Jaqueline Tyrwhitt’s Correspondence Courses: Town Planning in the Trenches
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CitationZalduendo, Ines Maria. 2005. "Jaqueline Tyrwhitt’s Correspondence Courses: Town Planning in the Trenches." Paper presented at the Society of Architectural Historians Conference; Vancouver, April 2005.
AbstractJaqueline Tyrwhitt (1905-1983) was the Director of Studies at the School of Planning and Research for Regional Development during the 1940s in Britain, where she founded the town planning Correspondence Courses for architects and others serving with the Allied Forces. With a significant enrollment, the Correspondence Courses were not a single course, but three independent and sequential courses made up of ten to twelve lectures each, with required readings and practical exercises for each lecture. They promoted collaboration among different disciplines and had a clear orientation towards practice. When the war ended a series of intensive post-war completion courses for returning ex-service men were organized, which enabled about ten percent of those enrolled in the Correspondence Courses to qualify in three months as associate members of the Town Planning Institute and enter actively into the profession.
Certainly the breadth and depth of the Correspondence Courses cannot be ignored; neither can the conceptual framework within which they were conceived be overlooked. First, they were founded in the belief that it was necessary to impart knowledge of planning to potential collaborators. Second, they were grounded in the conviction that for a much needed rapid training of young field officers there was value in a course in which the theoretical and the practical were closely related. This paper focuses on the Correspondence Courses: it outlines the particular circumstances in which these courses emerged, analyzes their component parts and conceptual structure, and traces their influence in Tyrwhitt’s Harvard period when collaborating in setting up the urban design courses and program at the Graduate School of Design. In terms of the design approach, the “physical shaping of cities” as understood in the 1950s at Harvard was, in the end, not far conceptually from “shaping the environment” as understood in the Correspondence Courses that Jaqueline Tyrwhitt initiated in the 1940s.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:13442987
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