Kevin McCloud

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE BOX - CLARE RIGDEN NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

Grand De­signs host Kevin McCloud can say so much with just a raised eye­brow, but in Lifestyle’s spe­cial one-off pro­gram, Kevin McCloud’s Top 10 Grand De­signs Aus­tralia, we’re left in no doubt which houses are his favourites.

You filmed with Aussie host Peter Mad­di­son. Had you met? Peter was ac­tu­ally stay­ing with me that week­end. He’s been to stay be­fore – I know him re­ally well. When he came over, I couldn’t re­ally say, ‘Go some­where else.’ So he came over to the UK two days pre­vi­ously. We filmed on a Mon­day, and I picked him up from the sta­tion on the Fri­day, and we went to Stone­henge on Satur­day…

You went to Stone­henge? When you have an ar­chi­tect mate com­ing to stay, you think, ‘Oh Lord. I have to give him a whole lot of places to visit.’ I had ac­tu­ally or­gan­ised to visit a cou­ple of lo­cal new con­tem­po­rary build­ings, and a new art gallery. I al­ways do stuff like that with peo­ple – I think it’s fun. Ac­tu­ally, do you know [Aussie comic and ar­chi­tec­ture fan] Tim Ross? Tim came to stay a while back, so I took him off on a one-day ar­chi­tec­tural tour. We just skipped off.

Back to the show – did you have a favourite house? Of course I am not go­ing to say one in par­tic­u­lar. I am very, very drawn to most of them, but I think per­haps Yackan­dan­dah, the house the two broth­ers built. It is a very sus­tain­able build­ing, and it’s very low-im­pact in terms of what has gone into it.

How do you as­sess a city’s ar­chi­tec­ture? I think to see ar­chi­tec­ture from the city, to walk around it, and un­der­stand the con­nec­tion be­tween build­ings and places and peo­ple — that’s where the magic lies. You could end up like some­body who likes to col­lect the but­ter­flies and put the pins in them — it doesn’t help you un­der­stand the but­ter­fly in its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.

You have fam­ily in Aus­tralia? I have a brother who lives north of Syd­ney. I have also got cousins in Mel­bourne. Fun­nily enough, I nearly was Aus­tralian. In the late fifties – my mother was an ac­coun­tant, my fa­ther was an en­gi­neer – you could get a ten pound ticket. They had bought their tick­ets, and paid for them, and then my mother dis­cov­ered she was preg­nant with me and they didn’t go.

Play­ing favourites, which is bet­ter, Syd­ney or Mel­bourne? ? You know what, I re­ally en­joy Syd­ney, it’s got a lot of chutz­pah. ah. I am go­ing to come out and visit sit again, I hope in 2018, be­cause the Opera House is cel­e­brat­ingg its 50th birth­day. Rosso [Tim Ross] and I are go­ing to do a gig of some kind, we hope. So that will be fun. I re­ally, re­ally love Syd­ney, but I also love Mel­bourne. It’s one of myy favourite places in the world, sim­ply be­cause it’s so in­te­grated. ed. You get the sub­urbs com­ing right into the city cen­tre, the busi­ness dis­trict is pop­u­lated with peo­ple, the laneways are full. But you know, all in all, they have both got great thingss go­ing for them. Why com­pete? ?

WATCH GRAND DE­SIGNS, LIFESTYLE, THURS­DAY, 8.30PM

Friends, and hosts, Kevin McCloud and Peter Mad­di­son.

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