Tim Lucas of Price & Myers is one of the most talented structural engineers around. So you would hardly expect him to live in a boring house. And indeed he does not - or will not. Working with architect Piercy & Co, he is building a house for himself in one of the loveliest areas of London, Kew (yes, home to Kew Gardens). And he is doing it in CorTen steel, one of the materials that divides opinion sharply. Architects tend to love it because it is an 'honest' manifestation of a material with no external coating. Many other people think 'why is that steel rusty'? In fact the warm orange-y patina that it can develop sits well with a natural environment, especially as it is never pristine, or too crisp.
Lucas is using it for his house partly because he can, I suspect, and also because steel allows a degree of prefabrication that means that the need for access is limited on what is a restricted site. The site is of an unusual shape, which meant that a conventional shape of house would not have made the most of it. All these reasons must have helped the Lucas family get planning permission despite, for example, objections from local MP Zac Goldsmith. But so did a charm offensive - including a barbecue for the neighbours.
All this is detailed in a blog, kept mainly by Lucas' wife, Jo. Well worth a look - as will the house be, once complete.