15 September 2016

Traditional Craftsmanship Meets High Technology to produce outstanding houses

If ever I was going to go to a talk then this was it. In Traditional Craftsmanship Meets High Technology Peter Huf told the story of the Huf Haus with a strong slant towards the house almost completing construction less than a minute away.

The talk was arranged by Ham Amenities Group (HAG) which I find myself the publicity for, This meant that I got to do the poster for the event that was on display at the library, where the talk was given, and also the community noticeboard on Ham Parade. I like to think that my publicity contributed to the room being full to overflowing with a few disappointed people left outside. They should have paid attention to the notice at the bottom of my poster recommending that people book.

I should have read my own poster too and then I would have arrived for a 7:30pm start rather than the 7:00pm I was expecting.

The plus side of being ultra-early was a seat in the front row and a chance to have a quick word with Peter Huf in which I was able to compliment him on his 1 Like No Other shirt which I had recognised from some distance.

I had seen Peter Huf talk before, way back in 2011, and expected something similar and was very pleasantly surprised about how different it was this time.

Because I had seen some of it before, and also because I was paying lots of attention to what was being said and shown, I took only a few notes. These are them.

Design the house for the plot. A Huf Haus is built around the trees and because it is made of timber it talks to them. The point of the garden is to appreciate it from the house, not from the street.

Design features like roof overhangs and automated external blinds that follow the sun help to keep the houses very comfortable to live in while providing remarkably high levels of sustainability, far more than any existing standard requires.

The heavy wooden beams (they support concrete floors) use structural protection rather than chemical protection. For example, they do not touch the ground or the concrete floors. This also stops sound travelling through the house.

The electric cables in the house are shielded (Cat 7) to prevent electromagnetic radiation leaking into the house. There were several examples like that which showed just how much care and attention Huf Haus pay to the quality of life of those living in their houses.

Planner like Huf Haus as they are built exactly to plan.

Peter said that the planning system in the UK is too democratic leading to mediocrity as bold schemes are opposed. We have had an example of this locally with the third Huf Haus being delayed by an appeal being lodged by two residents against the planning permission granted by Richmond Council. They lost the appeal but it added an unnecessary delay to a simple project that will replace a very average house with a special one.

It was a very informative and uplifting talk that prompted many questions from the (mostly) friendly audience and, just like the last time, left me wondering what I had to do to get my own Huf Haus. I've not worked out how to do that yet so I'll just have to settle for visiting them whenever I can.

You can see more about the coming of Huf Haus to Ham and Petersham on my Ham Photos Blog.

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