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Welsh future house looks ahead, not back

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Tim Drewitt's comments (aj 2.9.99) on our competition-winning design for the Welsh House for the Future have clearly missed the point.

Whilst Mr Drewitt appears to be able to assess, from faintly reproduced plans, the detailed construction of the doors and the ergonomics of boiling an egg, he unfortunately has been unable to accurately count the number of bed spaces. The house is intended to accommodate a family of four (as required by the competition brief) and at the same time provide a visitor attraction at the Museum of Welsh Life. The design, which allows for flexibility of layout, could easily accommodate the lifestyle Mr Drewitt uses to ridicule our proposals, but would clearly imply a much larger dwelling and a greater number of individual rooms.

One of the central objectives of the competition was to design a House for the Future which addresses the way in which housing might develop over the next 50 years. Our view is that the key issues are sustainability, flexibility and a response to the changing nature of households. Mr Drewitt's six or more Tunbridge Wells family is representative of merely 2 per cent of current households and trends show this figure to be reducing. Since 1960 there has conversely been an almost 20 per cent increase in one- person and two-person households, with the average size currently being 2.4 people. As stated in the AJ article (15.7.99), our house is designed to be responsive to changes in family structure and work patterns to enable occupiers to determine their own arrangements to suit their particular lifestyle - teenagers, mothers and even dogs with fleas can be accommodated. Our proposal responds to the issues we face in the future, not the Victorian values of the past.

Heinz Richardson

Jestico + Whiles

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