George Clarke Sets Foundations for The Future of Home Building

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 10th May 2017

Setting firm foundations for the future of the UK’s building industry, revolutionary plans for The Ministry of Building Innovation (MOBI) have been announced by its founder, renowned and respected architect, George Clarke.

MOBI has made its mission clear: to inspire new generations in to the building profession and fundamentally transform the way we think, design and construct homes both in the UK and abroad. Essentially, this is about new ways of making for new ways of living.

Launching in the North East of England as an educational, research and development organisation, MOBI’s purpose is to focus on the creation of beautiful homes and vitally, challenge the housing market as a whole. Spearheading advanced home design and innovative construction thinking, the enterprise will work with both the industry and government to create homes that will genuinely transform the way we live in Britain.

MOBI Founder, George Clarke said: “The slow and antiquated method of building new homes is painful and fundamentally we still build homes the way we did hundreds of years ago. Whilst technology corporations, telecommunication companies, the automotive and aerospace industry are advancing at incredible rates, the house building industry is stagnant and it’s genuinely time for systematic change.

“There is a need for exciting innovation, opportunities to push the boundaries of what we build and how we build that will attract bright new minds in to the industry. MOBI will thrive on training, retraining, making, challenging the norm, building and creating pioneering twentyfirst century homes that improve the way people live.”

In conjunction with Teesside University and with the support of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, MOBI has developed a suite of courses in Advanced Home Construction starting with a Higher National Certificate and Diploma, an undergraduate degree programme, BSc (Hons) Advanced Home Construction (top up) and a postgraduate degree course – MSc Advanced Home Futures from this September.

The courses take a new look at the building industry and will bring together

multidisciplinary facets from design, technology and advanced manufacturing processes with social scientists, psychologists and health experts to really understand how homes need to be rethought for new ways of living.

Professor Jane Turner, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise and Business Engagement) said: “Here at Teesside University we are continuously seeking opportunities to work with partners who have exciting and innovative visions for the future, requiring access to our research expertise. This is therefore a perfect opportunity to work with George and industry partners to provide a unique suite of academic programmes that bring together multi-disciplinary perspectives to drive new ways of thinking and action.”

Professor Tim Thompson, course leader, explained: “These courses are designed to produce students ready to make a disruptive change to a traditional industry. With MOBI aspirations at the forefront of what we intend to deliver, we’ll encourage creativity, independent thinking, leadership skills and artistry to address a social need.”

Plans go on to reveal the aspirations of the MOBI footprint with the first centre of excellence destined for the North East in Tees Valley later in the year and further facilities nationwide in the North West, Midlands, South East and South West. Feasibility studies funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority are already in progress to consider site options for the blueprint of MOBI in their region.

The newly elected Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, added: “It’s fantastic that Tees Valley is at the forefront of this innovative approach to address the need for good quality affordable housing, whilst building our skills base in the construction sector. Our area is uniquely placed to deliver the MOBI vision. This announcement paves the way for the Tees Valley to become a national centre of excellence for this growing industry.

The anticipated £multi-million regional hub will mirror the pioneering ethos behind MOBI, making it a fun environment to capture imaginations, a place for much-needed research and development, a space for retraining, making, creative thinking and advanced craftsmanship. MOBI will embrace the very best in global technology to innovate in new ways of living.

Supported by Places for People, a national property development and regeneration company, the MOBI vision is ten years in the making from George, and now with a government acceptance of a broken housing market, it’s time for revolutionising home build and design.

Clarke added: “We all need a shelter but our home is the most important piece of architecture in our lives and it needs to be more than just a shelter, it needs to be a place that enhances the quality and experience of our everyday lives but also our health and wellbeing. To have a long term and stable place to call “home” should be a fundamental right for everyone in a modern, civilised society.”

“MOBI won’t be able to solve all the problems in the housing industry but by harnessing the talents, ideas and energy of the young people of today and by actively disrupting the current failing system, it is certainly going to give it a try.”

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