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Alain De Botton 'the Perfect Home'

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Did anyone catch this programme? It was basically inspired by the documentary maker's book called 'The Architecture of Happiness', which recently came out (haven't read it). I only caught the last 40 minutes or so of it, but it posed some interesting questions about our attitude to the design of new houses.

Botton's central argument was that we've become devoid of ideas when building and fall back on pastiches of Georgian style or mock tudor.

When according to the Barker report we need approx. 1 million homes, with the new build sprawl across the South East doubtless all we'll end up with under Prescott's plan's will be box homes devoid of any real style.

Botton argues that good modern design is affordable and to back this up gave some example's of really well designed Dutch homes, many of which were built for social housing or first time buyer's. I seem to recall this was one:-

ph2_sm.jpg

The most depressing thing was that the architects of these homes were actually British, but couldn't get work in this country The architect of the Dutch homes spoke about how they always designed sympathetically with the landscape they were building on in mind.

Sadly the lack of any real 'modern' design in this country seems to be an indictment of how uninspirational we've become.

I seem to re-call an interesting thread a while ago on quality pre-fabs. I'd be interested in finding mout out about this and whether they're really viable in the UK.

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I think one of the biggest hurdles faced by designers.... besides the obvious lack of balls on the part of the developers, is that local authority planning departments just do not understand housing if it isnt a pastiche.

I dont know what is worse, developers denying the demand for 'modern' design/style. or planners demanding all housing have a 'traditional' appearance.

Planners rarely have a design based education, and are therefore only driven by following their local planning guidelines.... hardly the environment to promote a genuinely creative approach to city planning and development. To them its all about numbers..... size of units, number of units, height of buildings, density, window to wall ratios, etc

Apologies to any planners on here..... please set me straight if you disagree. Its just the way I have seen it in my experience.

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Yes, I saw it on More4 a couple of weeks ago, it's a brilliant treatise and echoes many of the things you see on here and around you, along with Status Anxiety De Botton has it spot on yet again.

However, try and get a nice Van Der Rohe inspired design past through the Gummers Law exception and you will have all the local philistine butchers, bakers and candlestick makers up in arms. One day the planning system will be absolutely redefined, the internal contradictions it imposes are simply too much.

14.jpeg

Edited by BuyingBear

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There's some very sad looking new builds. If i bought one - i'd feel conned. The lack of space, cheap materials. It always makes me wonder why people buy them (sorry if you have one and you love it). I just think shame on the architect and the developer, as their money saving exersizes are so blatent. What really winds me up are those en-suite shower rooms!

I watched a program a short while ago (i don't know if anyone saw it), about some people who had moved into a newbuild townhouse, and couldn't fit their (normal sized) furniture in. The developers said they should have looked at the dimensions, and that the houses (family homes), were designed for the contemporary minimalist look.

I had an ex who woked in an architects office several years ago, i remember him saying, when they worked on new builds they had to fit as many in as possible.

The only ones i quite like are the environmental ones, they are quite individual, different and they don't look like they've been done on the cheap.

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There's some very sad looking new builds. If i bought one - i'd feel conned. The lack of space, cheap materials. It always makes me wonder why people buy them (sorry if you have one and you love it). I just think shame on the architect and the developer, as their money saving exersizes are so blatent. What really winds me up are those en-suite shower rooms!

I watched a program a short while ago (i don't know if anyone saw it), about some people who had moved into a newbuild townhouse, and couldn't fit their (normal sized) furniture in. The developers said they should have looked at the dimensions, and that the houses (family homes), were designed for the contemporary minimalist look.

I had an ex who woked in an architects office several years ago, i remember him saying, when they worked on new builds they had to fit as many in as possible.

The only ones i quite like are the environmental ones, they are quite individual, different and they don't look like they've been done on the cheap.

Hi all, i saw that program was it the couple in the three storey town house. They bought some furniture and couldn't get it up the stairs :lol:,and the wardrobes were to tall to stand up in the bedroom . The guy on the program last night spoke to a designer and said people bought new houses and couldnt fit their cars in the garage, and furniture in the show houses had specially made furniture (30% smaller) to make the house look bigger. Yet people are queueing up like sheep to buy into this con. Well they will double in price in 5 years, won't they???

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Never mind that horrible house with the big windows. Eeeee how would you ever heat it, luvvie?! To say nothing of that horrible big garden - loads of mowing, etc. Hmmm, no, I much prefer a nice sensible house in lovely Slough - and so cheap for what it is! A real bargain. And house prices never drop, so it's a good investment too. (It's been there on the market quite a while. I wonder why?).

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/viewdetails-115...pa_n=3&tr_t=buy

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Wouldn't look so good with a similar house 5 meters away looking back at you!

There's no physical reason why we have to build houses at such densities, aside from the volkish drawbridge mentality that wishes to pack everyone onto the back of a postage stamp. Everyone can have their half acre of garden and orchard, that way we end up giving more to the environment than we take way. If you give people space they are much more calm, content and happy.

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There's no physical reason why we have to build houses at such densities, aside from the volkish drawbridge mentality that wishes to pack everyone onto the back of a postage stamp. Everyone can have their half acre of garden and orchard, that way we end up giving more to the environment than we take way. If you give people space they are much more calm, content and happy.

There may be no physical impediment, but unless we have a full scale revolution, there is a financial one. Also, can you imagine how far you would have to walk to the nearest newsagent/pub/takeway if we all had that kind of space? This type of house is for the rich and the rich only. The program didn't seem to grasp that at all.

The reason most people don't like 'modernism' is because:

1) It often uses man-made materials, such as plastic and steel. Something in our human souls responds to elemental materials like wood and stone. The most successful modern designs are sympathetic to this instinctive preference and sympathetically include nature with large glass windows overlooking woodlands or water.

2) We respond to the humanity in a construction when we can see how it has been created by human hands. Ancient Greek/Roman temples and rough-hewn wooden beams give us a connection to our ancestors and a sense of our place in the world.

New builds might be a patische of older buildings and cheat the senses with 'artifical' replicas of original features, but they still, in a general sense, respresent our instinctual needs better than most modernist design.

Edited by izzy

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for alain de botton,this is a bit feeble.

for someone who wrote,the architecture of happiness....he seems to have forgotten that material stuff only makes you happy temporarily....it's having loved ones and friends that's important.

you could live in a sh1t-hole and survive it happily if you have people that care about you nearby.

...he's written a couple of books on "status anxiety" which are much nearer the mark of the modern age.

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There may be no physical impediment, but unless we have a full scale revolution, there is a financial one. Also, can you imagine how far you would have to walk to the nearest newsagent/pub/takeway if we all had that kind of space? This type of house is for the rich and the rich only. The program didn't seem to grasp that at all.

That's not true, take walk around your nearest new build estate, the £400k houses will be three storey terraces with three-quarter sized rooms with a meter of garden at the front (if you're lucky), parking for the regulation 1.5 cars and precious little garden at the back. There will be no open green spaces and the entire estate will resemble a warren of shared drives and a dinky road that needs to be privately maintained.

So we already pay the price, rich mens' prices, it's just that you get utter crap back in return. There is no free market in housing, we just get centrally planned and socially engineered guff forced upon us.

Edited by BuyingBear

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There may be no physical impediment, but unless we have a full scale revolution, there is a financial one. Also, can you imagine how far you would have to walk to the nearest newsagent/pub/takeway if we all had that kind of space? This type of house is for the rich and the rich only. The program didn't seem to grasp that at all.

The reason most people don't like 'modernism' is because:

1) It often uses man-made materials, such as plastic and steel. Something in our human souls responds to elemental materials like wood and stone. The most successful modern designs are sympathetic to this instinctive preference and sympathetically include nature with large glass windows overlooking woodlands or water.

2) We respond to the humanity in a construction when we can see how it has been created by human hands. Ancient Greek/Roman temples and rough-hewn wooden beams give us a connection to our ancestors and a sense of our place in the world.

New builds might be a patische of older buildings and cheat the senses with 'artifical' replicas of original features, but they still, in a general sense, respresent our instinctual needs better than most modernist design.

New build pastiches indicate a moribund society, culture and individuals.

They do not represent my "instinctual needs".

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New build pastiches indicate a moribund society, culture and individuals.

They're not even a good pastiche, by definition, they are also small and packed together in questionable locations. The estate shown in the series, in Stratford Upon Avon, at one point showed a Virgin Pendolino on the main line speeding through their back gardens at 125mph.

Edited by BuyingBear

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They're not even a good pastiche, by definition, they are also small and packed together in questionable locations. The estate shown in the series, in Stratford Upon Avon, at one point showed a Virgin Pendolino on the main line speeding through their back gardens at 125mph.

Presumably no "by request" stopping point at the end of the gardens?

The repro rubbish is everywhere, it's so dispiriting. So many interiors also victim to the same unimaginative approach.

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Weird to read people debate over the practicality and existence of things I see every day…

...This type of house is for the rich and the rich only...

Where I’m living lots of people have excellent custom made low density (CMLD) housing and I wouldn’t regard anyone here as particularly rich (not by British standards). Some of the designs would be regarded as modernist although most people opt for pastiche style that fits into the local area.

Apparently (according to a tour guide) I’m living in a town with one of the greatest percentage of detached housing in Germany.

...Also, can you imagine how far you would have to walk to the nearest newsagent/pub/takeway if we all had that kind of space?

Shops and services are distributed and not all located in a central high street (I assume this also reduces business rents). The beneficial effect of moving jobs away from the ‘centre’ is a potentially shorter daily commute and less demand on the transport infrastructure.

An ideal solution would be to have high density high rise (HDHR) city living for those who are so inclined and CMLD for the rest of us. This should be achievable by simplifying the planning laws and taxing land (not property) to prevent hording and free up unused land. :)

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An ideal solution would be to have high density high rise (HDHR) city living for those who are so inclined and CMLD for the rest of us. This should be achievable by simplifying the planning laws and taxing land (not property) to prevent hording and free up unused land. :)

Please don't imply those foreigners can plan and build better than the experts in the Uk.

The heresy in your last paragraph borders on treason.

:)

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I watched all three programmes back to back as Alain seemed to be articulating my frustrations quite well. Travel on any mainline train these days and try playing the 'where are we' game? Same awful, cramped and boxy, mean estates crowded against industrial estates and the railway.

It was interesting to note that the MD of Bellway admitted they don't use architects.

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It was interesting to note that the MD of Bellway admitted they don't use architects.

Nah, they just grab a copy of 'AutoCAD For Dummies', it doesn't matter what crap they design or construct, they've been able to flog them over recent years. Hence the ultminate in pee taking, the Redrow 'Debut' range, a portacabin with bigger windows (oh, cancel the bigger windows bit). :angry:

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And just why do their offensive offerings always have to have a name?

The Camberly, Ambleside, Osprey, Hamble, I don't know if I've made those up or dragged them from my memory but what marketing nonsense. I presume it's to make the units appear more personal and individual.

Now, which one says most about me, my lifestyle and would look best with my particular car on the drive?

Life will be good and my wife and I will laugh and smile forever.

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The Camberly, Ambleside, Osprey, Hamble, I don't know if I've made those up or dragged them from my memory but what marketing nonsense. I presume it's to make the units appear more personal and individual.

They're usually named after the things they destroyed in the process, modern estates are way over developed, a good medium density estate will support greater wildlife and diversity than a chemical doped countryside.

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Architecture cannot be divorced from politics. Under the surface, Britain is a deeply conservative place. The vomit-inducing redbrick mock-Tudor pastiche style is simply a reflection of this.

Go to any more progressively-oriented country and you will see what architecture really can do.

frugalista

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
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      • Even
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      • up 5%



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