This sculpture shows the cramped spaces in actual dimension, beside the scaled plans shown below deliberately dramatic, polemical signs, such as
‘Warning – Harmful Housing’ and
‘DO enter. New planning laws allow countryside to be built over.’
This ‘ruin of the newly built’ thus offers an interactive experience up close, of the absurdity and shortcomings of contemporary housing.
Research at the Future Homes Commission and RIBA’s Case for Space report shows that there is not enough space in the rooms, not enough storage and not enough natural light. Insufficient flexible spaces are provided for communal and private living or changes in the household over time. New homes are not built for the needs of modern families and they are shrinking: Average new homes in the UK are 15% smaller than in Ireland, 53% smaller than in Denmark and 80% smaller than in Germany.
This is a national scandal. Just as we have enjoyed the legacy of generous Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian architecture for the last two hundred years - spaces which mostly still function flexibly and brilliantly for families across the UK - so we will similarly be lumbered with the bad architecture of 2013 for many decades to come too.
The UK needs a change of mentality, designing long-term homes of our dreams, playing to our fantasies, feeding our imagination, and aiming to deliver pleasure, joy and community spirit. We need housing, but it has to be delivered with vision and a generosity of spirit, as whatever is built is here to stay.
The site reflects the fact that green site developments are now preferred over brown site developments, even though there are now more available than ever due to deindustrialisation. New planning laws will accelerate this development for potential building as 60% of England's land area is unprotected countryside - only designated national parks will be fully safeguarded - a historic moment with an impact which is permanent and irreversible. Developments need to add value to our future and not destroy our country for short term profit.