A SERIES OF CUSTOM DESIGNED HOMES FOR HAB- KEVIN McCLOUD'S DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
BY COMBINING THE BENEFITS OF FACTORY PRODUCTION WITH BESPOKE DESIGN THESE HOMES OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE VISION FOR HOUSING IN THE UK.
HAB stands for happiness, architecture and beauty and was set up by Kevin McCloud in 2007 to challenge the way identikit volume housing was built in the UK. We shared HAB’S principles of building places that are strongly rooted in history, lift the spirits, respect the local context, landscape, and community and the belief that homes that can help make peoples lives better.
The result of our close collaboration is a series of very flexible and comfortable “custom build” homes – where purchasers can decide the extent of input they want in their very own “Grand Design”. Options can range from a self-builder needing a plot of land (with just the services infrastructure provided) to a completed turn-key project by the developer.
Good housing design is more than just the way things look. Our homes are designed to lend themselves to be used in different ways- a living room can easily become a kitchen, dining area, bedroom home office or study. These flexible spaces are centred around a technology hub, containing utility room, services, and bathrooms. The key to this is providing sensible room sizes, well-proportioned rooms and “just enough design” – enough to provide a framework for living and to enable the homes to be created by the occupier.
All of the homes can be customised internally to suit a variety of specific requirements, such as full, closed or partially open floor plans, a choice of bathroom types or even upper floor living rooms with exposed roof timbers. They allow the easy future conversion of the roof space into a cosy bolt hole, with a desk and lounge chair for spells of quiet contemplation or writing, or perhaps just enough space for a weekend guest.
As well as considering the key functional and practical elements we looked at the humanising experiences and particular moments within the house- a generous and welcoming hallway, a view of an outdoor space or sky, a wide stair landing, or sitting curled up in a blanket in a bay window- spaces where we can think and pause.
The houses meet the government’s minimum National Space Standards, come with ample storage space and are energy efficient – with a choice either natural or mechanical ventilation. The homes are constructed using timber frame cassettes and can be clad externally in a huge variety of materials according to individual sites and personal preferences. Internally, the homes can be finished according to each purchaser’s budget and needs.
These designs offer an alternative vision for large-scale housing provision in the UK, combining the benefits of factory production with bespoke design. They demonstrate how the “mass-customisation” of homes across the country could be achieved, using the latest prefabrication methods and flexible standard house types, with the ultimate aim of creating community focussed developments that are varied, distinctive and beautiful.
CLIENT: Happiness, Architecture, Beauty (HAB) Developments
COST: Varies depending on degree of customisation