24 OCTOBER 1958, Page 6

I AM GLAD to see that the Nuffield Foundation, which

in the past has often distributed its grants on what appeared to me to be excessively con- ventional lines, is now helping an unusual and interesting piece of research into domestic hous- ing. According to the Foundation's report, the University c4 Edinburgh intends to create a post- graduate honours degree department of architec- ture under .Professor R. H. Matthew; and one of the subjects which he will be investigating, with the assistance of a Nuffield grant, is 'the technique of planning individual dwellings or of grouping dwellings in relation to one another.' Suburban development in this country is still hag-ridden by the notion that a house must have a front and a back (a relic of the days of ser- vants'. apartheid) and that the front should face on to the road, regardless of sun or aspect. American-style planning enables attractive houses to be grouped much more tightly together with- out obstruction or confusion; but here, little has been done to break away from the traditional pattern, and the new research should help to show how it can be done.