Monday, February 14, 2011

Underthinking Grand Designs

So I was watching "Grand Designs" on tv3. I really enjoy this show, with that great host Kevin McCloud

I like him, but who has 1 year to go to a live show?
 Seriously, how they do Grand Designs in a live show is beyond me, I mean most live shows go for 3 hours, in that time the architect might have found his paper, to begin the design, not exactly riveting entertainment.

"Well, That's all we have time for tonight, tomorrow I might design something"
But the show itself where it edits down like a year worth of content into 1 hour is fantastic. As far as I can tell the to get your house on the show you must follow 3 basic rules

Rule 1/. Pick a ridiculously complex untested idea

This is probably the most understandable rule, I mean if someone decides to build a three room bungalow from G.J Gardener homes, it will hardly be riveting tv will it? Well waiting for there spokesman to go home might generate some interest.

"E.T. Phone Home."
Seriously....

"Where did I put my paisley shirt?"
But most people are watching Grand designs to see something different and that is why, we see these elaborate designs, some form of buried house, or floating house, or a glass ceiling, just something that is unusual. For example tonight I saw a lady that designed an airtight house, so that her house retained the heat, that is fine, but isn't there disadvantages to an airtight house?


They tried to explain to Fred the extra heat efficiency would come at the cost of being able to breathe.
 A lot of the times though these innovations seem to be quite interesting, mostly these houses belong to architects who are trying to experiment with new designs. But its not only designs they are experimenting on, they also experiment with new materials. Sometimes these new materials seem amazing, like the time I saw someone build a house out of polystyrene filled with concrete.

"You know what if I got enough of these and filled them with concrete I could build a house"

Other times you wonder why they don't just use wood, or steel, seriously who wants to live in a house that has amongst its construction materials cow dung.

"What is that smell?"
Also when did triple glazed windows come into vogue, are we heading the way of the disposable razor? Where companies try and just one up each other by adding just an extra blade? Or in this case another level of glazing? How many glazings do you need?

Also I would hate to be the kid that put a ball through triple glazed window.
 Although triple glazed windows are probably pretty strong, so you would have to wonder who the neighbourhood kid is that could put the ball through your new triple glazed windows.

Damn Neighbourhood kids....

Rule 2/ Figure how much it will cost, halve this amount , this is your budget

&


Rule 3/ Figure how much time it will take, take a third of that, this is your timeframe

Rules 2 and 3 go hand in hand and appear to be a major draw card of the show. If you can actually afford to build your house and finish it in time, well its not really going to be interesting is it? Where would the dramatic tension come from?

"Everything was done on time and under budget" -Not exciting
"I told you 7 times I want WHITE tiles RICHARD" - Exciting

Most of the people on this show can come up with magnificent designs for their homes, and come up with some sort of budget, but seem to have no real concept on how much building materials actually cost.

"So that is 10 cents per concrete block, and 20 cents per piece of wood right?"
Or any idea how long it actually takes to build a house.

"So today is Monday and we are digging the foundation, so I would expect you can move in on Friday"

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