De­signs for liv­ing from TV’s grand ex­pert on ar­chi­tec­ture

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sharon Dale

KEVIN McCloud is host­ing the Grand De­signs Live ex­hi­bi­tion this weekend at the NEC, but he found time to an­swer a few ques­tions:

I started by pur­su­ing a ca­reer in mu­sic, and then I went to Cam­bridge to take a de­gree in lan­guages, which quickly changed to phi­los­o­phy, then fi­nally to the his­tory of art and ar­chi­tec­ture. I then re­trained as a de­signer and led two weird, par­al­lel lives de­sign­ing both in the the­atre and in peo­ple’s houses. I’ve de­signed ex­hi­bi­tions, graph­ics, prod­uct and spa­ces, set­tling even­tu­ally – for no par­tic­u­lar rea­son other than peo­ple bought the stuff – on light­ing and fur­ni­ture. I re­ally en­joyed it all and had some great ex­pe­ri­ences.

My pas­sion for de­sign re­ally stems from the huge in­flu­ence my fa­ther was on me whilst grow­ing up. He was a rocket sci­en­tist and engi­neer, who taught me that there is no such thing as fear of tech­nol­ogy, a man who be­lieved in the power of sci­ence and in­ven­tion. He was a man who strewed bits of car en­gine over the kitchen ta­ble ev­ery weekend. I ap­pre­ci­ated how things worked and were put to­gether and the in­tri­ca­cies of their de­signs.

Self-Build doesn’t just hap­pen on tele­vi­sion. Ev­ery year be­tween eight and 10,000 of us com­mis­sion a new home for our­selves or even build it with our bare hands. The Na­tional Self- Build As­so­ci­a­tion is ded­i­cated to mak­ing that eas­ier, cheaper and more ac­ces­si­ble, which is why we’re launch­ing a com­pe­ti­tion to de­sign a bud­get self-build. We’re look­ing for de­signs for sim­ple-to-build kit homes that can be adapted to suit any need and re­con­fig­ured and skinned to fit any­where. This com­pe­ti­tion will ap­peal to all those bril­liant ar­chi­tects, am­a­teurs, build­ing com­pa­nies and kit home firms who be­lieve that the fu­ture in hous­ing is self-build.

A: Very easy – spend the money on the bones. Spend the money on the stuff that is there for­ever, not the frip­pery like kitchens and bath­rooms which can be re­placed. Think of the ar­chi­tec­ture, glaz­ing and core ma­te­ri­als

Our houses and taps and spoons all form part of the en­vi­ron­ment we make to sur­round our­selves with. And that con­nects to the im­me­di­ate lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment like our street or town, which in turn is part of a global en­vi­ron­ment. We’ve stopped ap­pre­ci­at­ing the hu­man en­ergy and the valu­able nat­u­ral re­sources that go into mak­ing ev­ery­thing around us and think of most of our pos­ses­sions as throw­away items. Even a self-build on a shoe­string can in­cor­po­rate in­no­va­tive ideas to show­case that low cost homes don’t have to sac­ri­fice de­sign and sus­tain­abil­ity.

The show gets big­ger and bet­ter ev­ery year mak­ing it hard to high­light just a few fea­tures. Eco-con­scious visi­tors should look out for the hand­picked se­lec­tion of Kevin’s Green He­roes, which in­clude the lat­est eco-in­no­va­tions and tech­nolo­gies, some of which are be­ing ex­clu­sively launched at the show. Sus­tain­able, eco­l­iv­ing should mean more choice not less, and each of the lat­est Green He­roes show­case this with em­pha­sis on value and crafts­man­ship.

The Gar­den De­signer of the Year Com­pe­ti­tion, back by pop­u­lar de­mand at the NEC, will also be on dis­play. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to see­ing this year’s Ur­ban Kitchen Gar­den de­signs.

Last year’s com­pe­ti­tion was a re­ally tough call.

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