Housing

George Clarke's new degree is building the future for the next generation

The Council House Scandal presenter and architect is behind an exciting new housing design course at Birmingham City University

George Clarke's Council House Scandal

TV architect George Clarke is teaching a new generation how to create houses for the future as part of his mission to fix the UK’s housing crisis.

The council housing crusader helped create a new degree at Birmingham City University that is set to begin in September next year. The Design for Future Living course is architecture with a difference – focused entirely on creative and digital housing design plus the social, economic and environmental factors that are driving demand but cutting supply.

The course will delve into cutting-edge construction techniques like modular housing and homes manufactured in factories which are then assembled on-site – as well as teaching business and marketing like other architecture degrees.

“Our courses are designed to create the very best home designers in the country for the sole purpose of creating better homes across Britain,” the Amazing Spaces presenter told The Big Issue. “Genuinely affordable and beautiful homes for everyone.

“Good design really doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact some of the best homes I’ve seen have had challenging budgets because as a designer you have to work so much harder and push the boundaries of design to make the most of every penny in a limited budget.

“That is what we teach at MOBIE [Ministry of Building Innovation and Education, a charity set up by Clarke]. Our courses are exciting, broad, and multi-disciplinary constantly questioning how we can build better.

“Social housing needs to be beautiful, constructed or manufactured to a much higher standard, it must be low carbon, it must be a healthy home to live in and it must last 150-200 years.”

Clarke will give workshops to students on the course alongside MOBIE colleagues and other experts.

Mark Southgate, CEO of MOBIE, said: “Housing is the most important architecture in people’s lives. And in a broader sense it’s also about design, manufacture and materials. The course very much focuses on how housing is not being built well enough at the moment.

“If you look at phones or cars or vacuum cleaners, they’ve massively changed over the past 100 years. We need to bring some of that disruptive manufacturing thinking into the way we build homes.

“About 25 per cent of the workforce will be leaving due to their age in the next 10 years. But only 10 per cent of the work force is under 25. So as well as a housing crisis, there’s a looming construction crisis.

“As well as trying to improve the massive shortage of homes in the long-term, we’re making the industry attractive to young people. They will graduate with skills which are in very high demand and with ready-made connections with potential future employers.”

Earlier this year Clarke launched a campaign challenging the government to build 100,000 new homes every year for 30 years with a hard-hitting documentary and a petition – which more than 226,000 people have signed so far.

He told The Big Issue: “I was brought up on a council housing estate and I saw how really good, well-designed houses with great public spaces and public amenities created a great community.”

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