Helen Barrett

Why do the British still dream of bricks and mortar?

For the past century, a ‘property-owning democracy’ has been envisaged as a kind of magic cure for social ills. But high prices now mean the opposite of emancipation for many

[Getty Images]

In Building Soul, Thomas Heatherwick’s recent Radio 4 series, architects are villains. According to the puckish designer of Google’s King’s Cross campus, the profession is in thrall to a ‘cult’ of modernism, intent on forcing us to live in houses that make us ill and work in offices that make us depressed.

Is property ownership a natural state? When did we start toregard homes as investments?

Heatherwick is often accused of over-simplification.

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