Grand Designs 2016
Immersing yourself into the world of the architect led me to the Grand Designs Live Exhibition held at Birmingham’s NEC this week. I spent the day dropping in and out of the Grand Theatre for some interesting seminars most notably the announcement of the winner for the ‘Starter Home on a Shoestring’ competition. Organized by the National Custom and Self Build Association, this year it briefed architects to design innovative ways of building ‘low cost’ starter homes. This is currently a hot topic as the Government plan to build 200,000 self or custom build homes by 2020, which will go some way to tackling the housing shortage in the UK.
The Modulhus designed by Barton Willmore and EcoMotive won first prize. The home is a prefabricated low cost module which is a 2 bedroom, 66sq m shell costing just £49.644 to build. The interior can then be self-finished to suit the homeowner’s requirements so this opens up the possibility to individualize with their own kitchen, and interior fittings. The prize was awarded by Charlie Luxton who presented the recent TV programme ‘Homes by the Sea’. The competition was a fascinating insight into how housebuilding is currently dominated by major housebuilders which has led to a lack of innovation, and this competition seeks to redress this issue.
On my travels around the exhibition I came across an innovative material that was showcased by Kevin McCloud. NewspaperWood reverses the traditional production process of wood to paper, but from newspaper to wood. NewspaperWood is now looking to find new applications for their material. The wood is created by rolling up paper and glue to create something not dissimilar to a log, then chopping it into usable sheets. The wood can then be sealed so it’s waterproof, and used to build anything you would normally build with wood. With so much emphasis now on sustainability, and the ‘Code of Sustainable Homes’ being adopted by many local Councils. I can foresee this recycled material making its way into our homes in the future.
I found the Grand Designs exhibition to be a thoroughly exciting day, and allowed me to have the opportunity to meet with numerous architects. I will be working on developing our CPD courses for RIBA architects in 2017. So what with our new full sized luxuriously appointed penthouse in the Blum showroom, and the reinstatement of our CPD packages there will be plenty for the architect to see and do at Blum UK next year.