Various Locations, UK | 2016 | Speculative
If only 2% of green belt land was developed, 8 million new homes could be built in England. This alone would satisfy the housing demand for over 30 years. Green belt land occurs in the exact same places which experience the highest housing demand. Yet green belt land remains untouched, based on boundaries drawn up some 60 years ago to protect perceived notions of countryside and placate affluent country dwellers, fearful of new development.
The primary concern of the supporters of the green belt centres around the spoiling of personal views. What if the need for development need not compromise any view of the countryside? What if our new homes were ‘invisible’ from eye level? What if we built under or partially under ground?
These new buildings would be distinctively ‘buildings’, they would not try to assimilate with or mimic the landscape like many underground dwellings, but would also be designed in such a way that their presence appears man made yet goes almost unnoticed. Through proposals for key high demand sites across different green belt locations, three different underground house types are developed specific to the landscapes for which they are proposed – Courtyard dwellings for the flat, semi urban landscapes to the North East of London; Floating river dwellings embedded in the banks of the River Avon in Bristol; and Hill dwellings carved out of the limestone rock formations of the rolling landscape between Manchester and Leeds.