The Grand Designs concrete house is finally finished

The Brutalist concrete house in East Sussex revisited

The concrete house proved controversial, with many viewers finding it cold and uninviting. Will opinions change now it is complete? 

By Paisley Tedder | 14 July 2021

Megan and Adrian Corrigall’s concrete house in Lewes, East Sussex, was inspired by concrete villas in Mexico and Brutalist buildings like London’s Barbican. The uncompromising design garnered some criticism when it first appeared on Grand Designs.

Almost three years on, the monolithic house and its outdoor pool is surrounded by a lush garden. It may not a conventional choice for this rural setting, but Megan and Adrian are sure it’s the perfect home for their family.

The exterior of the Grand Designs concrete house with trees, grass and a blue sky

The concrete house was built on several levels with the main bedroom at the top. Photo: Mark Bolton

Exposed concrete

Concrete often gets a bad rap, but offshore diver Adrian and his wife Megan, a horticulture student, are evangelic about its merits. ‘The visual element is only the start,’ says Adrian. ‘It has warmth, tactility, an audio quality and it even smells good.’

The couple, who have three children – Rafferty, 14, Stella, 12, and Ossie, nine – bought a bungalow on a rural plot knowing that they would knock it down and replace it with a home showcasing the material.

The single-storey building utilises exposed concrete inside and out, with no plaster, paint or carpets. It also features several different levels, with a dining space stepping down from the kitchen and a living room lower still.

The bedrooms are above, with Megan and Adrian’s at the highest point. ‘The open-plan design of our previous home was quite hard to live with, so we didn’t want everything visible all the time,’ says Megan. ‘The spaces gradually reveal themselves as you wander through the house.’

The living space in the Grand Designs concrete house with wooden hanging chair and yellow sofa overlooking sliding doors into garden

Pops of colour in the soft furnishings breathe life into the concrete structure. Photo: Mark Bolton

Eco concerns

A common criticism is that concrete is always bad for the environment, but the couple refute this. ‘The mixes we used are as environmentally friendly as you can get,’ says Adrian. ‘Minimising the use of steel in the house not only saved us almost £100,000, but also massively reduced its carbon footprint.

‘The structure is so strong that it will be here for hundreds of years. Society’s throwaway approach to building is shocking and, though this project wasn’t cheap, we hope elements of it can be adopted more widely.’

Sunken dining table in Grand Designs concrete house, surrounded by foilage and grey concrete walls

The sunken dining area is separated from the kitchen by a microcement wall and greenery. Photo: Mark Bolton

Watch the episode: Lewes Revisit, 2021

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