The Scale of Living

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The dreams of many people my age, who are creeping into their late 20’s, of buying their own home is as far out of reach as ever. I live in a small village in the South-East of England, where recently one bungalow was knocked down to build 4 new 2-bedroom houses constructed in its place. The houses are uninspiring and cramped and they are also three times the maximum mortgage that myself and my partner can afford, despite holding down 2.5 jobs between us.  The rising demand is putting serious pressure on the government and developers to produce ‘affordable’ housing at an ever-increasing supply rate with government targets of 240,000 additional homes per year by 2016. The National Housing and Planning Advice Unit suggest that up to 290,500 additional homes may be needed each year up to 2031, to make up for the fall in construction of new homes during the recession. With house prices on the rise, tighter lending criteria and the lagging supply for the rising demand of new homes, it was looking like my dream house wasn’t going to be in my grasp any time soon. Until I read about Dwelle.ings:

A range of carefully designed buildings that are highly sustainable, fast to erect and extremely adaptable.

The award winning “dwelle.ing” can achieve zero carbon status, potentially meet Passivhaus standards and if doubled-up (which can be done at a later date), will meet Lifetime Homes Standards.

The building concept responds effortlessly to the occupants’ requirements, however varied. It can be personalised from the outset, but can easily change to meet individual tastes and preferences over time. The simplicity of the system will support different internal configurations and will allow it to be easily extended, either extruded along the length, or doubled-up.

http://www.dwelle.co.uk/

Dwelle provide a module housing system so you can get just what you need and can afford at that time and add to your home as your requirements and your income grows. With the basic dwelle.ing at £80,000 there is an option of getting what you want, where you want it for a price that is affordable. Purchasing land and getting planning permission are obvious hurdles to young couples that don’t have a lot of cash upfront. If there is any Previously Developed Land (PDL) in your area then you may be in luck. The attraction of the Dwelle system is that it is personalized to your taste and requirements. Is this not what a home should be? Eileen Gray, a pioneer of the Modern Movement in architecture in 1934 eloquently describes what a house truly is or should be:

 

A house is not a machine á habiter. It is a man’s shell, his continuation, his spreading out, his spiritual emanation. Not only its sculptural harmony, but its whole organization, every aspect of the whole work combined, come together to make it human in the most profound sense.

 

On a greater scale, cramped and generic housing developments can have unfavorable influences on the community. Notably in rural areas quick build housing developments are often unwanted by the local community and seen as a loss of natural habitat and landscape character. Integrating housing developments aesthetically and spatially into the natural environment and incorporating shared spaces can promote ecological mindedness and improve dynamics within the community. Architecture, as an element within the environment, should enrich people’s quality of life and complement the landscape character.

“Architecture is about meeting human needs by introducing a sense of physical order and beauty, ‘gluing together’ the complex interactions of living communities.”

Cities for a Small Country, Rogers and Power 2000

Many housing developments are not embracing the ideologies of landscape and architectural design, which is not a surprise with the pressures of increasing demand and financial burdens remaining from the recession. The concept and design stages of developments are being squeezed in response to these pressures and profits can be maximize by using generic, low cost, minimal hassle designs. However, a new approach such as that provided by Dwelle, which is in effect cutting out the middleman, could open up new ways of thinking about housing for individuals and for much larger schemes. For example, the preparation of PDL for individuals to buy plots for self-build projects, see the Rags to Riches Proposal. I for one will certainly be saving up for my own plot of land.

See more project ideas at: http://annatolfree.wix.com/landscape#!theme-projects/c1vzs

 

 

References:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-for-the-new-parliament/social-reform/housing-supply-and-demand/

Architecture in the Space of Flows, Andrew Ballantyne, Chris L. Smith, Routledge, 2012

Cities for a Small Country, Rogers and Power 2000

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