Inside 'gravity defying' Grand Designs disaster that collapsed halfway through building… and cost owners extra £200k | The Sun

Inside 'gravity defying' Grand Designs disaster that collapsed halfway through building… and cost owners extra £200k | The Sun

A "GRAVITY-DEFYING" Grand Designs house turned into a disaster when it collapsed halfway through building – costing its owners an extra £200,000.

Richard and Sophie Hawkes' design for their house near Maidstone, Kent was described as "lunacy" by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud.

The couple planned to build a unsupported arch over the whole property – an architectural first in Britain.

Based on a medieval technique, the blueprint for the Eco Arch envisaged 26,000 clay tiles held together with Plaster of Paris.

But the couple were devastated when the arch collapsed halfway through building – with Channel 4 cameras picking up the deafening crash.

The effort to repair the arch brought the overall cost of the build to £500,000 – well over the £300,000 budget.

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During construction the Hawkes lived in a caravan, with frozen pipes cutting off heavily pregnant Sophie's water supply.

But the project was a success in the end, with Kevin McCloud naming it one of his favourite Grand Designs.

Fitted with cutting-edge insulation and blinds slotted inside £43,000 triple-glazed windows, the house was one of Britain's first passive properties – creating more energy than it needed.

KentLive reports that the house's contributions to the National Grid earned the Hawkes an annual check from the government – more than making up for the ordeal of building it.

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Kevin McCloud said: "This is a landmark building in so many ways.

"Technologically, architecturally, but for Sophie and Richard it's so much more.

"It's an extraordinary home. It's full of joy, delight, surprises and inspiration.

"And it's also an architectural first, that wears its big, curvy engineering bravado like a badge of honour."

It comes after neighbours slammed a new "Bond villain" house which they say has ruined their area.

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