Richard and Sophie Hawkes appeared on Grand Designs during 2009 realising their dream, to build their iconic eco-house in the Kentish countryside. On the show Richard built his highly acclaimed eco-arch passivhaus, proving that clever architecture need not be expensive and has since used his family home to test out the latest eco-technology.
Grand Designs returned to Crossway during the summer of 2011, to see how the property had softend into its agricultural setting. Known to be one of presenter Kevin McCloud’s favourite projects, admired for its innovation as well as it’s beautiful hand-made parabolic arch, the team were pleased to find Richard, Sophie and the family still enjoying the good life and their healthy energy profits, thanks to the properties clever passivhaus design.
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.