(top of my list is the archaeological Time Team)
Each Grand Design program follows the often frustrating progress of someone designing, building or renovating a house in a unique, innovative and grand style.
I am able to some small degree understand the enormity of the task confronting people embarking on projects of such complexity.
Mr and Mrs GOF in 1983, double-handedly built their own home.
Not grand in design.
An $8000 budget effectively prohibited delusions of grandeur.
(As did the experience of hand digging by crowbar and spade all trenches for the concrete footings.),
Nor was it grand in the execution of the build.
It remains unfinished 26 years later.
Nevertheless it is a warm, cosy cottage which provides a barrier to the weather, and most of the tree snakes who would seek to share our comfort. It is filled with memorabilia and images reminding us of the achievements and challenges of our quarter century here.
Grand Designs features the top end of house architecture, often with a price tag approaching $1 million.
The way architecture has changed over the centuries reflecting different civilisations is a fascinating subject. Great architecture is like fine art. It elevates the human spirit. It dares to be different.
It reaches for the sublime, and occasionally achieves it.
I have admiration for those who seek to excel in all fields of human endeavour. Respect for those who dream to take mankind on a new and different path.
The program is also enticing to me with its portrayal of human relationships under pressure. Financial or personal.
House building rarely proceeds completely according to plan.
As much as I love this program, it often leaves me with a feeling of ambivalence.
Various examples below from several episodes cause me to invoke thoughts and questions for ethical consideration.
1. A nuclear family of 4 builds a $3 million Georgian-replica mansion with an additional triple carport and 4 guest rooms above.
2. A single man does not bat an eyelid when his quoted $20,000 renovation of a single bedroom apartment blows out to $100,000.
3. $15,000 is spent on wallpapering the master bedroom.
4. A walk-in wardrobe large enough to house an entire family of Rwandan refugees is built to accommodate the clothes for 2 people.
5. $18,000 for a custom designed shower stall.
6. $15,000 for a stereo sound system. (television and video system additional).
Does anyone else find questionable issues of morality here?
I rarely view ethical matters as either distinctly black or white.
That is the reserve of fanatics. My world is a myriad shades of grey. This dilemma for me adds another grey hue.
Does this level of personal indulgence constitute an obscenity when so many in the world, through no fault of their own, have neither food nor shelter?
Then again, perhaps ordinary people who witnessed construction of the pyramids, Buckingham palace, Windsor castle, and Hearst castle also asked similar questions at the time.
Has the jury of time handed down its decision yet in the matter of
The People vs Personal Edifices?
Note; All figures are approximate, in Australian dollars.
At the time of writing one $A = 70 US cents.