Page 50 - Bridging & Commercial Magazine Issue 5
P. 50

One Day    After a 90-minute East Midlands train journey, I arrive in Corby. I’m met by Mark Lewis, COO at Project Etopia, who is waiting to take me to its commuter village. We get in his late-model Tesla and take a 15-minute drive through the drizzle and green fields towards the development site. Mark starts up the kind of forward-thinking and dynamic visionary conversation I’d expect from a Tesla driver. Lofty ideas of sustainable housing, carbon neutral environmentalism, quality living for all—which seems as noble as it does unattainable. “For us, we want to be the Tesla of the building world,” explains Mark. “We want to help \[the\] government to do what they should be doing anyway, which is legislating to push low carbon within the construction sector. We are doing it because we think it is the right thing to do.” As we cruise through hills and about a dozen conventional housing developments, I curiously scan the distance for the Brutalist, blocky prefab houses that I associate with Pictures courtesy of Project Etopia modular schemes. Instead, we pull up to a row of four modern, three-storey brick facade houses, chic and preened, which—apart from being showrooms—are indistinguishable from any of the other developments we passed on the way here. And that’s intentional, Mark says. Modular housing is fighting a reputation for being poorly built and cramped. “The perception of modular homes with individual buyers is still not great, so we are not labouring the point with people that this a modular home.” He explains that the dream is to push modular housing’s reputation to the point to where people are actively seeking to buy them. A tour of one of the properties proves them to be spacious, flooded with light (even on such a dreary day) and, most importantly, homely. Less than 100 miles from London, and at a price of between £295,000 and £350,000, I could see it being a perfect abode for a young professional couple and their family. Just as it is externally, it’s hard to find anything about the house from the inside that makes it noticeably ‘modular’. Mark jumps up and down on the kitchen floor. “It feels the same as any other house. The only people that will know it is modular are the people that have been told it is.”  Bridging & Commercial 48    

   48   49   50   51   52