Monday, June 3

Berewood toy town takes shape

The Grainger/Bloor toy town is starting to take shape close to Waterlooville.

This alien project has been designed by  Architects in Winchester who base their designs on the fossil fuel burning past, the properties have fake chimneys and tiny windows.

The marketing hype states that the homes are inspired by small Hampshire towns.

What the marketing propaganda doesn't say is that in order to find one of these idealistic small Hampshire towns, you will have to take a trip in a time machine to visit Jane Austen in the 18th century.

Once upon a time Waterlooville looked like one of these towns from the past, that is until post war Britain needed to build thousands of houses in the area. The result is that the character of Waterlooville happens to be in the1950s, 1960s and later, not in the 18th century.

We do need to preserve buildings like Swiss Cottage, but we don't need fake historic buildings.

Swiss Cottage (1876)
more window real estate than
the 2013 Berewood homes

So Waterlooville has a toy/fantasy town being built on valuable farmland on the edges of the existing town and is disrespectful to the majority of the architecture in the area. When were Georgian buildings ever built using modern timber frame techniques?

But the fantasy nature of the buildings is just a part of the problem.

We need to reduce energy use and that means designing homes that capture as much energy from the environment as possible without the need for energy inputs from fossil fuels and grid connected renewable energy.

Yes we do need the grid and the large scale renewable energy projects to feed it. But low carbon life isn't about consumption for consumptions sake. The 'client' side of the system (homes and businesses) must be as efficient as possible, providing some energy from domestic renewable energy systems. The way forward is the use of elements of Passive solar design, a realist approach to property design that uses the natural energy around us to do as much of the work for us as possible.

It's time that the architectural and political ideology that is firmly rooted in the past, remains in the past, because the ageing pensioners that support it are not our future.

Some useful links:

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