Our enormous crane left the site this morning: amazing driving with just millimetres to spare in our very tight and bendy lane. They only needed three days to get the whole steel frame erected. Over that time we kept meeting people who could see the crane from their kitchen, sitting room, garden; luckily our house won’t be as prominent on the Portobello skyline (although hopefully just high enough to sneak a sea view).
Steel frame photos to follow tomorrow: we have now been in every room on our ground floor.
This is the board we were asked to submit for the exhibition Input and Ideas at the Lighthouse Glasgow, which is part of the Scottish Government consultation on its Architecture Policy. In the end only the photo of Greta designing and Bee’s fimo models of the family made the cut – brilliant for them (I think it’s their first exhibition) but a real shame that there was no sign of the ramp and the design that inclusion had produced – my whole point when asked what should be included in the policy was architecture for all.
Why would you choose to build your own house? As architects there is always a desire to create the spaces that you dream of, but this isn’t necessarily enough to give the impetus to actually start such a demanding project.
But what if most places you went to worked against you moving easily around it, every entrance was an obstacle to getting into the building, and every space had been designed with a mobile, upright person in mind?
For our seven year old daughter, Greta, this is a daily occurrence: she cannot yet walk on her own, so she has a collection of wheeled buggies and a bicycle. As architects, we spend a lot of time visiting buildings, and as a child in a family of architects she and her sister have learnt to love exploring different spaces and places with us. And there are many that she loves being in. But many of them seem to have been designed specifically to hinder anyone who is not conventionally mobile. There are so many missed opportunities in our architectural spaces and places.
So when we realised that Greta would need to live in a very supportive environment, we knew that was something that we could offer her. And it has been very exciting realising that an inclusive, barrier-free house is not just about being able to get from one floor to the other, or from the kitchen to the bedroom; when you consider movement around a house in a whole new way, it also offers a richness of experience of spaces that is beneficial to everyone.