Hive Haus: The future of housing? Wigan builder creates innovative alternative to high cost homes

By Jess Owen

Most architectural designs pale in comparison to complex structures like the Petronas Tower or the Sydney Opera house but Barry Jackson, of Wigan, has shown that simplicity trumps all.

Builder Barry, 50, owner of Hive Haus, has put hammer to wood and designed a housing alternative that may be the future of affordable housing.

His hexagonal honeycomb structure was featured on last night episode of Channel 4’s programme George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, and MM got the chance to pick his brain after his recent foray into television.

 “We have had so much interest since last night.  Our website went from 100 hits to 6,000 just after the programme aired and we have been inundated with emails,” he said.

And it is not hard to see why.

Barry’s prototype combines elegant simplicity with absolute efficiency without losing an of ounce creativity. 

The structure consists of identically proportioned hexagonal cells which can be added to.

The beehive, as it is affectionately called, has the capability to grow to the owner’s requirements allowing for bespoke pods.

The pods sell at a measly £10,000 and due to their status as mobile homes, require no planning permission.

Barry said of his ingenious design: “The bigger you go, the less money it will cost per pod as you reuse walls.”

Originally designed as a garden office, this design is the height of efficiency with solar gain and the flexibility to suit every owner in every stage of their life and yet the simplicity of this design is hard to grasp.

“Friends have told me they can’t believe they haven’t seen it before, it really is simplicity at its best,” he said.

More importantly Barry’s design offers a practical rebuttal to the housing issues in this country.

He said: “Housing is a difficult issue right now and it’s shockingly expensive for young people.

“This design could be it for first time buyers. The magic of this design is that it can be adapted to suit people and their needs.

“The pods could even work as elderly people’s homes as they are cheap to run, cheap to own and easy to clean.”

Barry also told MM about his encounter with charismatic channel 4 host George Clarke.  

“George followed me throughout the summer as I built. He is a down-to-earth and lovely guy, exactly how he appears on screen,” he said.

Yet the man behind the beehive will not fall into the ever-growing abyss of one-hit-wonders as Grand Designs Live have asked him to appear next May.

Barry has re-mortgaged his house to fund this ambitious venture and yet his fears of failure, which frankly look unlikely, are for lost creativity.

He said: “If all fails I could always go back to building. I don’t want to. I would just love to see how the pods could be adapted by each person. The best thing would be seeing the strange creations people come up with using ‘my baby.’

Barry’s own creation may lead others to push the boundaries of innovation and the design of their own homes, a quality in a market that does not customarily allows for such ultimate freedom.

“We are used to standard boxy rooms which are all the same. Potentially everyone could have a totally different pod or home.”

You can findmore on Barry’s Hive Haus here.

Image courtesy of Barry Jackson, with thanks

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