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09th Apr 2024

Grand Designs dream home suffers £200,000 of damage after collapsing in on itself

Nina McLaughlin

Kevin McCloud called the project “lunacy”

Grand Designs is known for resulting in people living in their dream homes, but one house has resulted in total disaster after it collapsed in on itself.

Richard Hawkes and his wife Sophie set out to build a “gravity defying” house near Maidstone in Kent.

One of the main features of the building was the unsupported arch, which was made up of Plaster of Paris and 100mm thick tiles.

This way of building is usually for domed structures, but the Hawkes’ home used it in a world first.

However, while McCloud was presenting, the structure collapsed rather dramatically, adding another £200,000 to the cost of the build and delaying it by weeks.

“I was standing by the camera person looking at the camera,” Richard recalled to The Sun.

“You hear this almighty crash. One of the things they were told not to do was lean on the first layer of tiles. It’s extremely delicate.

“It’s the subsequent layers that make it stronger. [The stonemason] leaned too much. It made part of it fail and whatever that was left fell with it. So that was dramatic.”

The builder was “crying and really upset” following his mistake, and was forced to rebuild the roof as it “was his responsibility.”

“Sometimes you’ve got to dust yourself down and think actually we were very fortunate in the grand scheme of things. Within a week we were back to where we were,” Richard added, saying “it could have been a lot worse.”

Richard continued to explain his vision for the home.

“I planted the home. The model was me trying to make part of the building living and what form could hold up a lot of clay to sustain things that grow in the landscape, so it blends,” he said.

” Then it was ‘how do I hold up all this clay?’ An arch. The idea of this arch with these objects nestled seemed to be a natural sculptural response but I didn’t know how to build it.”

Related links:

Grand Designs host shares update on ‘saddest house ever’ years after tragic episode

Kevin McCloud’s advice for first-time buyers in the UK is ‘move to Germany’