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.