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Scotland’s Housing Expo welcomes first visitors

August 5 2010

Scotland’s Housing Expo welcomes first visitors
Scotland’s Housing Expo at Milton of Leys, Inverness, s opening its doors to visitors through to August 31, offering members of the public a chance to peruse 52 homes and interiors of the future during a programme of events that include workshops, seminars, talks and exhibits.

Designed to promote eco friendly lifestyles the homes boast the latest technology and energy efficient designs.600 hardy souls braved the rain (and builders frantically scrabbling to finish off some last minute construction), to seek inspiration from their own homes.

It is hoped that developers will take note of the design and construction standards on display at the event as a benchmark for their own products, which have been roundly criticised in some quarters.

It is an attempt to boost awareness of design amongst the wider public as well, conscious perhaps of the growing presence of kit homes in the Highlands.

Tickets are on sale now for the event at £6 per adult, £4 per concession and £10 per season pass. Children are admitted free of charge.


richard heggie
#1 Posted by richard heggie on 5 Aug 2010 at 16:41 PM
Exhibition is open to 31 August - typo in first sentence suggests 3 August.
Dave Anderson
#2 Posted by Dave Anderson on 6 Aug 2010 at 17:10 PM
I think the idea behind the development is great. But was disappointed when I went on Wednesday to find a lot of unfinished work and the quality of workmanship was questionable.

Rural Designs, Murphy’s and Graham Mitchell’s are worth looking at. Fraser’s houses are unadventurous.

Flower House unfinished. Disappointed Graeme Massie houses where not finished and un-built.

Nord house is probably the worsted house on display. Half stone half timber, black Goth finish. I just wanted to stilt my wrists went I was in side.

However, it is worth visiting, but leave it until the end of month when they have completed more of the work on site, so you are not disappointed.
#3 Posted by Rab on 6 Aug 2010 at 17:37 PM
I don't think 'adventure' was the brief/ambition. I understood simple, modern, sustainable and sensibly reproducable was. If volume builders are to take on board ideas, they don't want scaring.

MFA pictured above?

It's such a pity that after all the delays so much is unfinished; long hard winter can't have helped.
Alan Dunlop
#4 Posted by Alan Dunlop on 8 Aug 2010 at 10:06 AM
That's a puzzling comment Dave Anderson, Nord's looks like the only genuinly innovative housing on the plot?
Dave Anderson
#5 Posted by Dave Anderson on 8 Aug 2010 at 14:41 PM

Innovative, please!

AP houses are not finished. There ‘no entry signs’ on three of the houses. You could not go into the fourth house in the afternoon because the electrician was doing work. The light switches are brass. The finishing details are dire. AP run out of money, so the front is stone and the back is painted black timber, etc. The biggest problem is that is not finished and the workmanship is poor. AP has been caught with his XL sized pant down! Most of the house are like there original sketches, but his has dramatically changed.

However, it is still worth visiting the expo.
Dave Anderson
#6 Posted by Dave Anderson on 8 Aug 2010 at 14:47 PM
Just remembered, regarding your innovation remark, no one has though of putting a large window in a gable, with a slanted roof. O yes, how about the Bookend Cottage extension that is shortlisted for the Saltire Awards.
Alan Dunlop
#7 Posted by Alan Dunlop on 8 Aug 2010 at 20:13 PM
Well I'll give way to your opinion, Dave Anderson as you have visited. I've only seen the as built images and it looks pretty sharp.....a stand out among other derivative house types and I last took an interest in the Saltire Awards about ten years ago, when the judges kept winning.
#8 Posted by Saltire on 8 Aug 2010 at 20:59 PM
Saltire has been rejigged this year. Worth a look.
#9 Posted by Baxendale on 8 Aug 2010 at 23:39 PM
Thats a lot of ugly looking houses. To be fair to NORD they seem to be the only architects who bothered to create some architecture. I am sure the sustainability credentials of all the schemes are tip top but most of them still look a mess
#10 Posted by AP on 13 Aug 2010 at 15:38 PM
I don't wear pants.
Colin Gordon
#11 Posted by Colin Gordon on 15 Aug 2010 at 12:57 PM
Surely, it is a mistake to judge the EXPO in pure architectural terms - there is no point re-inventing the wheel for this building type. What (non-architect) visitors will be interested in are possible options for improving the quality of new housing. The HLM passive house is a good example of this and well represented by the staff at the site. Surely this technology has to be the way forward.
Most of the houses are too small unfortunately and many fall foul of sacrificing valuable space for slightly cliched architectural effect. This undermines the architecture adds value idea considerably. Others have rather obvious cost cutting in evidence - surprisng for an expo but perhaps a true reflection of the current mind set in construction. The acid test for these houses will come down to how well they sell. Anta's charming wee house seems pretty honest in that it makes no bones about being a holiday cottage. Unfortunately, I have to agree with the comment about Nord's house - it is trully depressing - quite a shock. For me, the Rural Design house had a lot to commend it in terms of presenting a practical and intelligent lifestyle solution which might attract private house builders. Brennan Wilson's house also good but the idea of a life long house is perhaps a bit idealistic?
#12 Posted by Davina on 6 Sep 2010 at 16:25 PM
The public vote for 'favourite' houses ended with first place Malcolm Fraser Architects House NS, plot 27, second was The Passive House by HLM Architects, plot 11, third Rural Designs Secret Garden, plot 17.

Herald September 5th

"Expo was a showcase of modern Scottish master-planning, by Cadell2, and domestic architecture, featuring affordable, sustainable, and – yes – spiritually uplifting places for people to live. It may come to be seen as a turning point in the way Scots think about the built environment.

Should this come about it will not be the result of closed conversation between experts, architects, local authority planners and developers, but because of a great leap forward in the buying intelligence of the Scottish public, whose choices and horizons have been stunted by the limits of what they have traditionally been offered. But over 30,000 people traipsed through Expo’s doors in August. This desire for something new explains why this event, of a type that has been happening in Finland for decades, was such a word-of-mouth hit. "

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