January 28, 2019

Building Beautiful

A collection of essays on the design, style and economics of the built environment

How can more new homes and places be built in ways that the public find beautiful?

In November, the Government announced a new commission on Building Better, Building Beautiful. The Commission will consider a range of issues to do with the built environment, from design and style to community consent, but it has one central theme: how to find ways to raise the standard of new homes and places across the country. Although the Commission has provoked a great deal of discussion in the media, the architectural profession and in Parliament, the thing that has unified almost all responses to the Commission has been its necessity. It seems we can all agree that not enough new homes and places are built in ways that people find beautiful.

We are publishing this collection of essays as a way of offering ideas to the Government’s Commission. This cross-party essay collection includes contributions from politics, architecture and the housebuilding industry. Not every topic is covered and not every point of view is represented – there are too many of both to fit into one collection – but we hope our contribution is informative and useful.

My biggest challenge by far as Housing Minister will be convincing the British people that the land needed to solve the national housing crisis lies in their suburbs, villages, cities and towns. The only way we stand a chance of winning their support for this output is if they like what we build – beautiful buildings gather support; blank ubiquity garners protest and resentment. If you get the design right, the scale, the context, the fitness, communities will feel enhanced and respected and will lay down their petitions and placards.

This is why we’ve started a debate on quality and design with the launch of our Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission and why I welcome this fascinating publication from Policy Exchange.


Jack Airey

Head of Housing. 2018-2020

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