Wearside’s George Clarke has always been the commonsense-creative when it comes to house building.
He, more than anyone, as presenter of TV’s Amazing Spaces series, knows that clever homes can be created not by shedloads of cash necessarily, but instead, by thinking outside of the box.
With a lifetime of experience in architecture, he plans to channel the energies, vision and innovation of the George Clarkes of the future through his Ministry of Building Innovation (MOBI), launched at Teesside University today.
It will encourage a new way of looking at house-building in the UK that can help alleviate the current housing crisis. And, he maintains, change the way we all live.
“I wanted to do it in the North East, I wanted to harness the skills – a lot of people are keen to make stuff and build stuff – get their hands dirty. I wanted to combine that passion with the knowledge economy at the university. There’s no point in me making pioneering young academics who can’t then go out into the industry and make a change.
“A long time ago I felt a little bit despondent at the whole building industry. The Government has acknowledged that the housing market is broken; that the system doesn’t work and that it needs a revolutionary overhaul.
So will the North East be full of Amazing Spaces in 30 years’ time, inspired by what George has launched today?
“On a really serious point, on Amazing Spaces, I see people innovating and re-thinking how they use space on very, very affordable budgets – and it’s really inspiring stuff. The self-build industry is amazing – you see people on Grand Designs putting everything they’ve got into their home, so they invest a bit more; they put in more time, more creativity, more thought – then you look at the mass house-building industry where they just knock our these Noddy-boxes, it’s not inspiring stuff, so I don’t think we’re creating homes that people genuinely want to really live in.
So Amazing Spaces, in some way, it has been a bit of a seed for MOBI because you think, why can’t we think differently about space?
“All the momentum in the house-building industry at the moment is perfect for MOBI. If we can harness the talents of young people – who are way more inspiring than I am – and start to revolutionise the whole building industry though MOBI then I think we’re going to make a massive difference.
MOBI will offer entry level up to advanced masters courses with George lecturing on campus.