'Architecture on the Carpet'
A View of Architecture Through the Prism of Toy Building Sets
by Brenda and Robert Vale

An interesting title, which "does exactly what it says on the tin"!
But first the details - 'Architecture on the Carpet', by Brenda and Robert Vale, was published, in 2013, by Thomas and Hudson and allocated ISBN 978-0-500-34285-5. I suspect that my copy, at least, was published across the pond as the dust jacket pricing is in dollars, both U.S. and Canadian.
I do not propose to type out any lengthy quotes from the book, not least because of the sheer scale of the task. Apart from the introductory and concluding sections, there are no less than fourteen chapters, each one dedicated to one or more similar building toys.
Front cover of Architecture on the Carpet By Brenda and Robert Vale
The book's emphasis is more on the architectural implications of the different building systems than their history, though this isn't neglected. This gives it a much wider appeal than just the individual groups of nerds like me who gather, moth-like, around the individual system flames.
Perhaps not surprisingly, suburbia is chapter eight's particular focus, as BAYKO comes under that architectural spotlight. BAYKO's position was never at the cutting edge of architectural taste, that wasn't the point, thought it did accurately reflect the domestic arrangement of British suburbs.
I don't completely agree with the Vales' conclusions on BAYKO's influence on architecture. I can't deny that BAYKO's influence isn't to be seen directly reflected in current architectural styles, but that's not to say that there isn't one. I've spoken and corresponded with a lot of architects over the years, a good half of them girls, at exhibitions and, more recently, through the website. They confess that the thing which first got them interested in the field was the world's first and finest plastic construction toy.
The sort of comments they make talk of their growth through and then beyond the constraints of BAYKO's 'rules' as they spread their architectural wings.
That aside, I find the book to be a good read, with well reasoned arguments clearly supported by a lot of research and a broad knowledge base. Anybody with an interest in either building toys of architecture will enjoy reading this excellent book.
 
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