Why is my home like it is?
This is a topic that has bothered me for many years. When you ask a child to draw a house, most of them would probably draw something similar to the picture above. Why, with all the Architects in the UK, do most of our houses look the same?
I would love to think that as humans we are individuals. We all have different tastes, different styles, different personalities. Yet most of us live in homes that look exactly the same from the outside. One of the main problems is that the general, non-architect, public don’t know too much about houses. They want something that looks like a normal house, they are afraid of change. Change is the biggest problem, no one wants to be ‘that guy’ with the house in the street that looks like a spaceship.
Victorian homes are exactly that, made for the Victorian age. What we need is a home for the 21st century that, for example, Barratt homes can adopt and develop for the masses. This brings me to the next stumbling block, money. Most individual homes are built for people who have a lot of money and a large amount of land on which to build. Bricks and mortar are widely used, and therefore economies of scale keeps the cost down. The more people that adopt new technologies, the lower the cost.
The same argument comes with environmentally friendly homes. In a dream scenario we would all be living in homes that are environmentally friendly, and have at least some ‘green’ credentials. The problem is the general public consider these houses as ugly, and at the moment, the bigger picture doesn’t affect them. In truth there are many new ‘green’ technologies that don’t even affect the look of the house. The problem is the picture below is what most people think of when they think of a green home.
I can’t decide what the home of the future looks like, but does it really need to have 4 windows, a door and masonry walls? The problem is when we purchase a home, we have that dream childhood image in our heads, that sticks with us all our lives. It is about time that we start to adopt new ideas for our homes, and we as Architects have a big role to play. If we don’t we may have to live in mock-victorian homes for the foreseeable future.