Grand Designs is my favourite TV show at the moment. It really is a great concept. Made in the United Kingdom and intelligently hosted by Kevin McCloud, it follows domestic building projects from start to finish.
There are a wide variety of circumstances that add to the interest and individuality of each unique project. Some people use professional architects, project managers, builders, etc. Others use one or two, while some go at the project alone – bravely or perhaps foolishly. It is often surprising to see the results from some really determined people.
For Australians it offers some architectural work not commonly seen here in Australia. For starters we lack old stone castles, and you won’t find too many buildings over 200 years old ripe for renovation. Then there are the obvious climatic differences. This brings a whole range of differing factors that shape the design and construction of the buildings. Their ground is a lot different to ours. They experience a lot more mud than we’ll ever see. The heat and light in Australia are harsher and this means we design to accommodate those conditions. You don’t see too many verandas in UK building design. But those UK cousins of ours soldier on, building their castles in the snow and mud and cold. You really have to admire their tenacity. How many aussie tradies do you know that knock off and go surfing if the conditions are right? And good luck to them.
Kevin McCloud brings intelligent commentary to the process. He plays the devils advocate baiting the starry-eyed visionaries with possibilities of things that could go wrong. His background in architecture and design ensures his input comes from a solid knowledge base and understanding.
It is a real pity Australian TV production companies don’t take careful note of the popularity of this show amongst Australian viewers. Everyone I talk to watches it and loves it as much as I do. I thought my background in industrial design made me specifically attuned to this show, but it seems to reach beyond that. I suppose we all dream of beautiful homes to own and live in, and we’d all like to shape that nest to fit our own unique sensibilities.
I cringe at the aussie shows like Location Location and Backyard Blitz. When Better Homes and Gardens comes on I can’t change channels quick enough. The loud discordant theme music is enough to make me shudder and this is quickly followed by the shouting bullying monologue of the presenters.
Even the introductory theme music of Grand Designs is beautiful and of real quality. Well done Kevin McCloud and Grand Designs and the ABC for airing it in Australia. On Facebook I’ve joined the groups Kevin McCloud Makes Architecture Sexy and The Kevin McCloud Appreciation Society. Cool!!