BedZED is just over three years old now. Clematis, rose and golden hop plants are beginning to hide some of the metal and brick and making the place look a bit more lived in. It’s aging well I think and I still get a kick out of the architecture — especially on perfect blue-skied days like today. The low sun gives the whole place a warm orange glow as it reflects off the brickwork.
A Japanese delegation is having a look around. I was just hanging out my washing when I noticed I was being filmed. I just hope it wasn’t for primetime.
So I suppose the good news about BedZED is that there’s no real news. It hasn’t turned into a disaster. It isn’t a white elephant that nobody wants to live in — quite the opposite, properties seem to shift fairly quickly when they do come onto the market. It seems to tootle along quite happily with little innovations gradually adding to the sense of community.
For example we now have an email group as well as a BedZED newsletter. There are regular yoga classes starting up and on a more impressive level Bill Dunster is planning on opening up a renewables shop on site where you can turn up and buy solar panels or mini wind turbines off the shelf.
My only complaint would be that the Friday evening bring-your-own bar has become a bit less frequent but I think I might try and get that up and running again as I’m hopefully going to work from home a bit more in the future.
It was interesting watching the Stirling Prize on telly last weekend to see how mainstream sustainability now is in the architecture world. The FT also ran a supplement at the weekend about sustainable housingâ€¦ although theirs was at the (how can I put it?) upper end of the housing market.
I think BedZED has definitely been part of the shift towards acceptability of sustainability (it was nominated for the Stirling in 2003). The problem, of course, is the ‘volume’ house builders who seem to be doing everything possible to avoid putting sustainability into practice. And at a time when the Government is pushing for hundreds of thousands of new homes in the south east, that’s very worrying.