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"Are building regulations the enemy of architecture?"

Link to The Guardian

"Building in the UK is a dense minefield of rules and regulations that governs everything from the size of windows to the pitch of rooftops, the depth of stair treads to the gradient of slopes – even where to put light switches. From overlooking distances to rights to light, every aspect of a new building has been quantified and calibrated before the designer even sets pen to paper.

"...The Nigerian capital of Lagos is a seemingly chaotic frenzy of ad hoc urbanism, [but] research unearthed the obscure 'LSPD Regulation 15', which defines the city-wide setback rule – the distance every development must step back from its legal boundary.

"A regulated no-man's-land between buildings and the street, ranging from three to nine metres, this buffer zone in fact turned out to be the most lively and dynamic part of the city's fabric. 'It allows Lagosians to take personal responsibility for themselves. Nothing is legally sanctioned within this zone, yet – somewhat counterintuitively – anything can happen. The setback is a legally defined zone of extra-legal tolerance'." 
The subject will be debated at the RIBA on Tuesday 5 March, at Constraint and Creativity: Is Red Tape the Enemy of Architecture? Liam Ross will be joined by Tom Mullarkey from the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents, Piers Gough of CZWG Architects, Alex Ely of Mae Architects, Tim Gill of Rethinking Childhood, and Finn Williams of Common Office. The exhibition runs until 27 April, and Guardian Extra members can buy tickets for the talks at the discounted rate of £5.

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