Green Architecture Day

It was five years ago, back in May 2008, that I wrote about my trip to Grand Designs Live. A central tenet of the exhibition was the construction in six days of The House That Kevin Built – which now returns as the Brighton ‘Waste House’.

I did briefly meet Kevin McCloud at the time but, more importantly to me, I recently met the designer of the house, Duncan Baker-Brown of BBM Architects. We were set to debate against each other at a Regency Society event on balancing conservation with eco-friendliness (though seemed to agree for much of it). Duncan has rejuvenated the project and will be presenting it to interested parties during Green Architecture Day on Saturday 27th April.

Green Architecture Day has been organised by Brighton Permaculture Trust to educate and inspire on the fascinating subject of self-build housing, It is set to take place at Brighton University’s Faculty of Arts where Duncan is a senior lecturer on architecture.

I have previously written about the work of Ian McKay of BBM in a piece about the Faculty of Arts. The glass and concrete Grand Parade campus was built to the designs of Borough Surveyor Percy Billington and opened in 1967. BBM completed a series of fitting additions in 2007 in their trademark eco-friendly style. The Waste House is being constructed on a forgotten corner of the campus, which is adjacent to William Street and Grand Parade Mews behind.

The project pulls together a number of different organisations including the university of Brighton, City College and Mears. The foundations are in and all manner of eco-friendly materials have been lined up by Cat Fletcher of Freegle for the walls, roof, insulation and other components. Whilst some of the materials are standard building products – albeit previously unwanted, such as second-hand bricks, others are less orthodox.

A myriad of discarded common objects are being lined up for use in the Waste House. Cat showed me her secret storage warehouse where all manner of superfluous items are kept. Everything from recycled timber and the legs from denim jeans, to video cassettes and polystyrene, will somehow be incorporated. Nothing will go to waste on this project.

Also on the day will be talks on straw bale construction, the use of natural materials, and many other related subjects, with a discussion to finish things off. See www.brightonpermaculture.org.uk to find out more about Green Architecture Day.