Developing world to inspire western eco-houses

Eco-architects and designers are to get a lesson from the developing world through an eco-house and garden display inspired by the way communities in Africa, Asia and Central America are dealing with climate change.

The display will bring issues such as hurricanes, rising sea levels and drought closer to the British public by showing the way people in the developing world are adapting their homes to protect themselves against these threats while at the same time safeguarding the environment.

Planned to feature in October’s Grand Designs Live show in Birmingham, it will give a profound undertone to an event dominated by designer shopping, ‘dream kitchens’ and tips on interior design.

Eco-housing experts and designers working together with the charity Christian Aid will re-create features from four regions of the developing world.

Communities in Honduras, vulnerable to increasingly intense and frequent hurricanes and tropical storms, live in a close relationship with the forest and suffer from the effects of deforestation. They protect their homes against hurricanes with strong rammed-earth walls, a feature which will be reproduced in the Birmingham show, alongside insect-repellent paint taken from local plants to draw attention to these communities’ interdependence with the surrounding forest.

Visitors will also see Asian homes built on stilts for flood protection, using biogas energy, and African houses with rain-water collection systems and solar panels, and a “global garden” providing eco-gardening tips.

Garden designer Diarmuid Gavin who helped plan the ‘global garden’ said: ‘This looks like being one of the most exciting and challenging projects I’ve undertaken. The idea of sustainable living is becoming more important, both here and around the world. To create a garden which reflects that with Christian Aid for Grand Designs is a fantastic idea.’

Another of the project’s creators, eco-housing expert professor Susan Roaf, said: “Everyone who wants to survive comfortably through the coming decades should live in an eco-house that addresses these life-threatening issues, wherever they live.”

The Global House and Garden display will feature at the NEC in Birmingham from 6-8 October.

For more details see the Ecohouse website.

Goska Romanowicz

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