Living with the Future

Living with the Future

"Living with the Future" is a television documentary series first broadcast on 15 January 2007 on BBC Four. It is a follow-up series to "Living with Modernism", also on BBC Four.

In this series, buildings have been constructed in the last few years and often rely on cutting-edge materials. Each episode, presenter Simon Davis visits the owners of a private house, then stays the weekend so he can comment on what the building is like to actually live in.

Episode list

* 1. "Skywood", Denham, Buckinghamshire – Arriving in style by helicopter, Simon spends the weekend in the family home of Graham Phillips, one of Foster & Partners senior execs. Built in 1999 on the site of a derelict farmhouse, this breathtakingly minimalist house consists of two interconnecting boxes containing 4 bedrooms in one and the living accommodation in the other. Structural elements aid the illusion that make the roof appear to float on the glass walls. Surrounded by tranquil gardens and containing a manmade lake. The building design with its glass curtain walls and floating roof is quite reminiscent of the Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Pavilion (architect/owner: Graham Phillips, CEO Foster and Partners) 250 m²----

* 2. "Quay House", Peckham – Architect Ken Taylor and his partner, artist Julia Mannheim are the owners of this contemporary take on the live/work setup, which manages to look into the future whilst still celebrating its industrial past. They run an architecture and design practise from the building, formerly a milk depot in the 40s. Construction started in early 1998 and finished late 2002. In transforming the building, under tight budget restraints and with sustainability in mind, the couple have taken inspiration from its industrial heritage, by using many of the depots original features and materials. The multifunctional original and unique building has a quirky layered patchwork nature about it. Its spread over 3 levels, the ground floor is contains a kitchen, living area, office, library, studio and workshop, and hung above are 4 cosy seaside-like beach huts, which are used as sleeping quarters. The first floor contains 2 separate apartments with another above on the 3rd floor. Of note, at the front of the building is possibly the smallest gallery ever, as the name suggests [ 'm² Gallery'] is just a meter square and can be seen by passersby. (architect/owners: Ken Taylor & Julia Mannheim [ Quay2c] ) 1000 m²----

* 3. "Drop House", Potters Bar, Hertfordshire – Designed by architects Hudson Featherstone, a practice who have a gained themselves a reputation for imaginative, eclectic and sculptural designs. Described as 'A Suburban villa for the forward thinking' was built in 2000 for the Bolger family, set amongst a street of typical large suburban development. The large eye catching 'water drop' shape, from which the house gets its name is immediately evident on approach to the white rectilinear building. The shape extends both outside and inside, containing all the water related activities, the upper part being bathrooms and the lower section the utility room. The design takes into account the sites slight unevenness by incorporating a series terraces and mezzanines, both internal and external while capitalising on the southerly aspect. The numerous levels inside the house are connected by a series of short staircases and ramps, from the guest rooms in the basement, the living accommodation on the next floor, on up to the 3 bedrooms on the top floor. A striking angled white wall reaches up to a light-well from which light cascades down and into the stairwell below. Factoring in the 21st century philosophy of living a greener life, the house is of a highly insulated timber frame construction, including energy efficient glazing to aid solar gain and all the grey and rain water is recycled. (architect: [ Anthony Hudson & Sarah Featherstone] )

* 4. "Tilty Barn" Tilty Hill, Essex - Up the narrow winding country lanes, Simon arrives at Tilty Barn. A converted barn, an intriguing contradiction of sorts, where traditional meets modern, in a somewhat austere stark white minimalist setting. In 1994, Photographer Fi mc Gee and her partner at the time, discovered a collection of dilapidated farm buildings beside the original farmhouse on Tilty hill. It was to provide the plan and raw materials for a dream home. The conversion was designed by John Pawson, one of the masters of minimalist architecture. The house is laid out in a U-shape with 3 distinct wings, at one end is the spectacular cathedral like double height living room, which connects through the kitchen dining area, through to the victorian red brick buildings in the middle. They contain a living room ,a study and 4 bedrooms each with their own bathrooms. The house surrounds the horse paddock with a stable located on the 3rd side. In the double height living space, while shaping the minimal interior with a series of low white partition walls enclosing the space, Pawson has retained the structural integrity of the original farm building, by utilising the original exposed oak beams and trusses, dating back to the 18th century. Huge glass panels are integrated into the traditional structure by filling the original openings, letting light flood into the rooms with light. The open plan kitchen is at the heart of the home. Its stainless steel surfaces and concealed storage spaces are set low so as not to be seen from the dining table. A wall of glass on one side of the kitchen lights up the space, giving views over the paddock. The main bathroom has a square sided troph like bath and the bowl shaped sink both cut from a block of york stone. Huge picture windows make the most of the views over the Essex countryside. Walls are devoid of a traditional skirting throughout the house, by leaving a small gap beneath, the effect that the wall is floating above the concrete slab. Understated use of materials such as marble, concrete and stone all work together to create this seamless vision of calm. (architect: [ John Pawson] ) 440 m²

* 5. "BV House", Lancashire - a large "modern country manor house" with separate children's/visitor's block, composed of many different angular forms and clad with thatched walls (architect: [ Farjadi Architects] )

* 6. "Paxton House", Primrose Hill, London - A family house built in spare space between mews houses (surrounded on virtual all sides) or as the owner describing the narrow site - as a "missing tooth" - easily the most stunning and technologically advanced of the series - Focused on a top-lit slide away glass roof canopy over the central living space which is the social hub, and featuring a curved glass "lap" swimming pool, computerised lighting and heat control (near carbon-neutral). The house contained mini-apartments for his teenage children, and acoustically sealed doors (similar to those on refrigerators) separating the parent and children parts of house (architects: [ Richard Paxton Architects] )


ee also

*"Living with Modernism"
*"The Curious House Guest"

External links

* [ Graham Phillips biography at Foster and Partners]
* [ Quay2c architects]
* [ Hudson architects feature on the Drop House]
* [ John Pawson feature on Tilty Barn]
* [ Farjadi Architects]
* [ Richard Paxton Architects]

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