Richard and Sophie Hawkes appeared on Grand Designs during 2009 realising their dream, to build a PPS 7 eco-house in the Kentish countryside for their young growing family.
Before appearing on the show Richard had left his position at a London architectural practice, to project manage his Crossway build and set up his own company Hawkes Architecture. Specialising in the design of sustainable Para 79 homes in the open countryside, his successful practice is still today based a short walk from Crossway, where this journey for a more sustainable lifestyle began.
On the show and with a modest budget, Richard built his highly acclaimed eco-arch passive-house, wanting to prove that clever architectural design need not be expensive to achieve and has since used his family home to test the latest eco-technology available on the market today. Over the past 9 years Cambridge University students have monitored the buildings energy consumption.
In 2011 Grand Designs re-visited the property and found Richard, Sophie and family were very much enjoying the good life!
Now fully landscaped, Crossway had softened into it's agricultural surroundings and the ethos for designing the life-changing building remained the same. The inspirational couple were still growing their own crops and continued to enjoy their yearly energy profits, thanks to the buildings state-of-the-art renewable technology and it's clever passive solar design.
Crossway is known to be one presenter Kevin McCloud’s favourite projects, admired for its innovation as well as it’s beautiful hand-made timbrel vaulted, parabolic arch and watching the show, its hard to ignore Richard's passion for responsible, sustainable architecture, nor be seduced by his honest charm as he proudly shows us around the building that he's proud to call his home.
To capture the imagination any great proposal needs one powerful idea. Communism had collective labour. Nestle coffee has George Clooney.
Richard Hawkes's house has a giant tiled arch. This is Richard and Sophie's Millau viaduct, their Pantheon, their St. Paul's dome, because the extraordinary assertion that any arched or domed object makes is that gravity can be tricked.
The efficient parabolic form and its scary thinness stick two fingers up at the laws of the Universe and suggest that big heavy things like buildings can float.
It's one of the great illusions of architecture, pulled off here with utter bravado.
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