I've been starting to think about my Small Stone Cottage for the Lyddle End 2050 project.
There it is as it arrived from Russell Davies, around a month ago. A combination of Christmas, work and school has meant I haven't really been able to get into it, but as my dissertation draws to a close I'm hoping I can spend a day or so working properly on it towards the middle of January.
So I've been thinking about houses in 2050, and houses in 1966. If we'd done this project then, what would they have thought houses would look like now? If you follow the thoughts of Archigram, then we'd now be in walking, adaptable houses, which is kind of why I like this idea. But, in much the same way as we don't have a colony on a moving moon, a lot of those predictions are yet to be realised.
It may be a bit sad, but given Councils' approaches to planning, and considering the current housing financial crisis and the resulting future housing capacity crisis, and taking into account the ongoing energy/climate debate, I'm thinking my house will probably end up a little like this:
Maybe I'm not thinking far enough ahead, this house does kind of look like a house I'd like to live in now.
But I'm having issues with seeing any of the new crop of eco developments, like the ones I've mentioned before, becoming widely adopted.
Firstly, house builders seem intent on building those horrible red and yellow mock-traditional community-destroying chocolate box houses with paved drives and annoying dead ends. They market those to 'traditional families', leaving 'eco' developments to be pitched to the audi (or prius) owners, with an audi price tag. Any attempts at affordable eco developments, so far, seem to be one-off case studies for town councils to shout about while they carry on not building any other housing and blocking progressive developments.
Secondly, are we really about to demolish our town centres, Le Corbusier style, to accommodate more efficient housing? Of course not, we're British. Are we going to build effective, sympathetic new eco towns into our green belt to meet the demand for greater capacity? Of course not, we're British.
So in my house, I've had to extend to accommodate higher shared occupancy brought about by unstoppable rise in demand and therefore price. I've built out over the back, and into the roof. There are solar panels to power the house, not for hot water, (they're so efficient by 2050 that they can provide nearly all the house's needs). I've added a roof garden, because I like them, and because I imagine most of the actual garden will be used for growing food. I haven't yet added any communications, and I'd like to add a little wind turbine to the chimney stack, but I think this is pretty much the shape I'll be aiming for. There will also be some sort of grey-water collection system, and probably a bike storage shed.
Craft knifes at the ready!