Boring Blocky Houses or Ugly Mishaps

What on earth are architects thinking?

I’d love to have been an architect. Stone, wood, straw, tyres, slate, ceramics, tin — think of all the shapes and colours and materials you can use to create a unique building. So many designs can be created if you let your imagination run riot — and there are some pretty weird ideas out there.

I’d design my own house and it would be a thing of beauty. Beautiful dwellings inspire awe. They are breathtaking in their imaginative scope, use of materials and feeling of light and space.

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, but generally, there is some agreement as to which features people find attractive — or not. Often, the architect has gone all out to make the house ‘different.’ Houses have been created using thick, slanting granite, or covered in a checkerboard effect or dipped into a deep well, made with kooky crooked windows and doors, designed to look like it’s suffered from serious subsidence — all sorts of weird ideas. Have a look at this website if you don’t believe me.

I get it. Each architect is trying to carve out their own reputation. Sadly, some of them think the quirkier the design, the better. But there’s a difference between slightly eccentric and mad.

Besides, it’s all very well these architects being allowed to design such monstrosities, but we’re the ones who have to look at them. They’re blots on the landscape and I for one object most strongly.

Far more common though is the standard design — the glass box. Yawn.
I’m so tired of seeing these houses portrayed as wonders of modern architecture. They’re not. They’re all the same with lots of huge windows, concrete walls and industrial fittings.

What’s with all this concrete, anyway? Do people really enjoy living in bunkers, because that’s what they look like to me? Where’s the comfort? Where’s the softness, gentleness, wrapping you up in cosiness? These houses are hard, harsh, cold — and hot.

You know and I know that if you have a conservatory, it’s freezing cold in winter and unbearably hot in summer. If you live in one of these glassy boxes, surely the effect would be the same? Triple-glazed and insulated as they might be, windows are still less efficient at keeping in the heat than walls. If you have a great sweeping row of massive windows, you’re going to lose warmth in cold weather and you’re going to fry in hot weather, unless you have shades — and they’d make it dark anyway.

I understand the need for light and access to lovely views but it doesn’t need to be so over-the-top. Why would you want to live in a house that had all-round views of you sitting there picking your nose or grunting around in your pyjamas or being struck with a sudden urge for spontaneous sex? You can’t do what you want when your house is a goldfish bowl.

Who trains these architects? Is there one person at the top of the architect-training-system — the Great Overlord of Dwellings whose laws must be obeyed? Take your panties off, Mister and relax a bit. Not everyone likes your hackneyed designs.

There must be a middle ground — somewhere between Crazy-Ugly-house and Run-of-the-Mill-Glass Box; a house that has unusual touches, that glows with elegance, that doesn’t turn your stomach when you walk past it.

It’s time for an architectural shake-up. Who’s up for the challenge?

I write to entertain, explain…and leave a tickle of laughter in your brain.

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