We were compelled to comment on the Sunday Star Times recent article, “Ugly houses good: English” - in which Bill English went on record as saying "Ok we might have to get a bit ugly but actually a lot of people live in NZ on relatively low incomes and their housing is never going to look that flash so why don’t we get practical”. Is this a modern version of let them eat cake?
We agree that good design must be practical. However, we also believe that low income housing can be of good quality and aesthetically pleasing. Yes, this is a picture of one of the Hobsonville test lab houses we designed for the Hobsonville Land Company (with David Irwin Isthmus Group and Katja Leitz our client at HLC) see more here. They were built by volume house builder Classic with only a few changes from what they would normally do. For instance, rafters instead of roof trusses so we could have a bit of volume on these small footprints.
Joining English in a race to the bottom is former reserve bank governor Anthony Grimes and now Auckland Uni Adjunct Professor of Economics: "Basically the more attractive the city becomes the more difficult it is to keep house prices and costs in check".
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"Our smart designs for the Hobsonville Point housing scheme clearly show that good proportion can be cost neutral. Beauty doesn’t need to cost any more than ugliness and good design is not just how it looks but more importantly how it works".
Christopher Kelly, Principle Architecture Workshop