Home Lifestyle How Grand Designs' 'anti gravity' home in Kent collapsed halfway through construction

How Grand Designs' 'anti gravity' home in Kent collapsed halfway through construction


Richard and Sophie Hawkes went on the Channel 4 show to build a ‘gravity defying’ house. They wanted an unsupported, clay arch covering the entire house, using 26,000 tiles and a method never tried before in the UK.

The strategy, which was popular in the fourteenth century, involved no supporting beams and held the arch together with only Plaster of Paris.

In a dramatic moment on the show, presenter Kevin McCloud and members of the crew heard loud noises and Mr Hawkes was seen holding his head in his hands.

When inspecting the commotion, a sizeable hole had been left where tiles had collapsed into a single layer, rather than the three layers that were intended to be in the finished arch.

Luckily, the constructors managed to solve the problem and the finished project was stunning. Kevin McCloud even said it was one of his favourite builds of the whole series.

The final result was an incredible eco-home which has been certified as one of the UK’s first passive properties. This means it creates more energy than it requires and receives money from the Government every year so energy can be bought from them. 

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She gave birth to a baby boy named Archie and then had to contend with frozen pipes which disrupted the water supply over the winter, in the dramatic episode which first aired in 2009.

The finished product cost a whopping £500,000, much higher than the £300,000 budget outlined at the beginning of the show.

On the house, Kevin McCloud said: “It is full of joy, delight, surprises and inspiration. It is also an architectural first, that wears its big, curvy engineering bravado like a badge of honour.”


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