Kevin McCloud has carved a reputation for being a critical voice in architecture, famously describing a potential failure of a grand design only to climax by revealing the magnificence of the final scheme.
What happens when there is a reversal in power, can Kevin put his money where his mouth is?
Often critics offer a perspective questioning everyone else’s decisions, something McCloud does with rigour and genuine intrigue. It is a testament to him that he has been able to achieve a ‘celebrity’ tag and still managed to hold onto a respected position from his peers. But what can one critically deduce from his own handy work?
In a new series, Sundays 8pm Channel 4, aptly named Man Made Homes, he puts his own vision to work by building a ‘shed’ with his very own hands; a rejection on a consumerist society and living beyond ones means.
In the programme he is put to work by building an understated dream; admittedly being put in a position of humiliation at times for public entertainment, but he still carries out this investigation with wit and insight. From producing his own biodiesel from sewage waste, to making his own home brew. I was left with a huge smile at the end of the show wanting to see more of this ingenuity and eccentric genius.
There was a hint of nervousness from the man himself, particularly revealed during an earlier 2011 series ‘Kevin’s Grand Design’ where he set out to design and build his own social housing; a rejection on existing poor quality housing offered, proving happiness doesn’t have to cost more. I am thrilled his scheme came to fruition, a fine role model for honest British design and sensibility. Although the longevity of the scheme is yet to be realised, it is refreshing to see someone challenging existing bad design in the UK. Surely something an architect should do?
I’m sure the nervousness revealed during this series was down to proving he can actually build, rather than just critique buildings. This nervousness can now be put to bed, you have proved yourself Kevin!
Indeed this new series is presented as a more contented exploration of architectural space for the self; and so it should. Put your feet up Kevin, you deserve some time to enjoy your very own grand design.