We’re never short of inspiration at HAB. We launched in 2007 as a response to the developments we saw springing up that gave us a feeling of something wrong in the housing market. 10 years on, things have improved and we’re able to be more than just a reaction to something negative, and can now build beautiful houses entirely out of love. Any positive effects on the UK property industry are just an added bonus.
HAB was launched at the peak of the volume house building years, when vast tracks of the British countryside were being covered in unplanned, anonymous housing. HAB Housing Co-Founding Partner Isabel Allen discussed the evolution of HAB’s design methods, and where the team find their inspiration.
“Since house building has moved on immeasurably since our launch, it is almost harder now than ever to find a way to make our homes different from everything else. I see projects all the time that I wish we’d done. It's a lovely thing for the industry.”
So how do HAB’s designers make sure they’re always a step ahead of the curve?
“For us, the first focus is always the site: the views, the sunlight, the ecology, the topography, the local buildings. We don’t copy them in an obvious way, but take inspiration so that our design fits the local context.”
This consideration of a site’s surroundings can be seen at Lovedon Fields near Winchester, where most homes are built from red brick. HAB’s design team turned to nature in the area and picked brown and buff brick tones to match the surrounding grass, hills, and earth.
“We took a very deliberate view not to use the same brick that most new housing was being built with. We felt that Lovedon Fields suited the country more than the town, so we used a subtle palette of natural colours. The building forms are built very much to fit the local environment.
“It’s all about taking what’s there and putting a filter on it, which makes it HAB. We believe that buildings have their time and place, so whilst they are rooted in the history around them, they are still contemporary and they look modern. There is a very fine art in the point where we make the space flourish.”
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Photography used by kind permission of Look Again, Paul Miller,
Studio Engleback, Thousand Word Media, Vicky Tilson and Timothy Soar
Unit 11, Temple Studios, Temple Gate, Bristol, BS1 6QA.
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