A nice day out in the sun it was not - due to torrential rain. However our day trip to Scotland's Housing Expo in Inverness was very worthwhile and interesting. 52 houses designed by some of Scotland’s leading architects, intended to inspire and stimulate quality design and innovation (building materials used included shingles, rubber, zinc, timber cladding and corrugated aluminium). Sustainability was a key feature throughout all the houses.
• The Passive Houses by HLM Architects won our award for simple, clean and green living.
• Our overall winner was Rural Design’s Secret Garden; the space was well thought out, warm and welcoming, practical yet quirky.
• GMA Architects had also achieved a very settled looking house with the use of timber cladding painted a soft grey.
• Of the larger houses we liked Twin Peaks designed by Joseph Thurrott Architects; great space for modern living
Our thoughts on the downsides?
• Internally many felt somewhat pedestrian and were disappointing; a great lack of storage space, many small bedrooms and several slightly odd mezzanine areas.
• The impact of a few houses was greatly diminished by inappropriate overdressing. The Expo has perhaps missed a trick – such a great opportunity to showcase the best of contemporary furniture and lighting.
The downsides are small. Anyone interested in architecture and sustainability should visit the Expo – a good day out and lots of food for thought.