Reconstructing the true value of good design

Royal Albert Hall, London
The 800ft mosaic frieze that encircles the Royal Albert Hall in London depicts the advancement of the Arts and Sciences

Veteran property developer, Sir Stuart Lipton, has announced a collaboration between his development company, Lipton Rogers, and that of his son Elliot’s mixed-used development company, First Base. The new business will focus on building new homes on brownfield sites in and around London.

Lipton has previously spoken out in favour of good design, saying: “We cannot afford not to invest in good design. Good design is not just about the aesthetic improvement of our environment; it is as much about improved quality of life, equality of opportunity and economic growth.”

The new housing business will be launched next year and aims to ‘shake up’ the house building industry which Lipton describes as being in crisis, with no meaningful competition while building substandard homes.

“We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us,” Winston Churchill said in 1943, referring to building work to repair a blitz-damaged House of Commons. Lipton would agree, citing poor housing as an influence for some of today’s widely reported societal tragedies, such as poor health, substandard education and knife crime, that are a recurring theme of recent years, comparing modern houses to Victorian workhouses.

Referring to the millions of pounds paid to house builder executives in recent years, he criticised the Help to Buy scheme, which he blamed for artificial increases in house builders’ profits. Persimmon’s former head, Jeff Fairburn, was forced to resign earlier in the year when he was awarded a £75 million bonus.

Low cost housing will be built within a mixture of one to three bedroom apartments on sites which can accommodate a minimum of 250 homes. All of the homes will be flats which will be built in blocks of between eight and fifteen storeys.

Lipton Rogers is the developer behind the City of London’s tallest building, 22 Bishopsgate, which will be completed next year.

Lipton said in an interview with construction magazine, Building, that the housing market has no competition. “Why is housing different to my phone or computer,” he said, “With every product the cost has diminished and the product is far superior. The Romans did a better job – they had better materials, better designs and they lasted.”

To check that you get a property that will last, get a chartered surveyor to assist you when you are considering your next residential or commercial property purchase.

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