Save your degree in 5 Grand Designs
Hope seemingly lost? Nowhere else to turn? Listen to Kevin McCloud, says BEN DALTON, for he has been there before…
You are currently knee-hugging naked on the bathroom floor thinking about that shameless essay drop in yesterday’s afternooner, or that moment you realised that there had actually been a question three minutes before pens-down.
Indeed none of this was ideal. None of this was what you had envisaged writing when you first looked down – in a lusty, serpentine manner – at the 20 page answer booklet in all his virginal purity.
But fear not! All is not lost. There is still tomorrow’s vaiva that you might not throw up in. Still Friday’s steeplechase you might blitz. In the meanwhile, however, what you need is Grand Designs. Grand Designs and Kevin McCloud. If you’re looking for one man guide you through to your final final, then please for God’s sake look no further.
An ex-cantab himself, Kevin knows all the tricks. His hands are feathered with experience and sage, and they will cup you too if only you let them near. Kevin speaks approximately every language in wider Europe, and will communicate seamlessly with your mason, carpenter and cement mixer regardless of his or her mother tongue. In addition to this, Kevin has an exquisite bulge in Levi’s and will almost definitely impregnate your partner mid-build.
This polyglossic effervescence and pantaloonic fertility combine in a truly cathartic architectural experience. Read on for five of the best episodes to build you back up to your best.
Regain clarity of argument with “The Georgian Interior”
Essential viewing for those in sudden doubt of their critical clarity. Kevin doesn’t even spare a thought for the exterior here, instead turning his attention entirely to the fine tunings, the straight lines, the tonal balance. This is a moment of chipping years of gloopy plaster away from the exquisite Georgian friezes which lie beneath. A moment of levelling the inconsistencies in the floorboards. Of finding the perfect, mauve radiator. This interior is succinct yet seductive. Just like your to-be answer to 13b.
Breathe it off with “The Japanese House in Wales”
This is a dwelling all about peace of mind. It’s also about low-set His and Hers showers with matching stools and a fully functioning tatami room for flower arranging and tea drinking. Once glance at this triumphant Isengard of Japanese birch in the middle of the Welsh forest – glowing, warm, sultry – will restore balance and anchorage in even the most frenzied. Take a deep breath. See wood.
Inject some flare with “The Gothic House”
Because every argument needs that moment of Bonham Carter titillation. See how Kevin applauds the dramatic windows and the Gargoyle finish on the stairways. Just look at his face. There is a certain amount of faking to be noted within the faux-chateau walls, and the plasma screen above the Adams Family fireplace is admittedly an eye-sore, however these touches are as exhilarating as they are brash. No one will notice the polystyrene as long as it’s been spray-painted tastefully. You know that.
Learn to share with “The 19th Century Manor in Creuse, France”
Watch on for a manor house that teaches the art of give and take. Lovingly created as a Bed and Breakfast for weary travellers, this renovation proves ever the hearty host. Thick walls, a bienvenue welcome mat and plenty of eggs in the fridge. Plenty of room at the inn. Full of full-fat in the fridge, full of hot water in the douche. Treat your exams to a similar level of hospitality. Sanguine handshakes before and after and a bawdy king-size inbetween (metaphor to be interpreted accordingly depending on Tripos).
Look for the bigger picture with “The Barossa Valley Glass House in Austria”
Finally we arrive at the most self-deprecating of all builds: the Australian house-on-a-prairie that just will not think of itself. All mirrors, doors and French bays, this exoskeleton of an abode only sees the wood for the trees. So sit on its (sparse) sofas with a can of refrigerated Perrier and look out towards the Australian horizon. Watch the sun set, watch the sun rise. Take your pants off. Eat a vegemite sarnie. Broad strokes here, and you know it makes sense.
So before writing your candidate number, spare a thought for Kevin. Trench your foundations, erect your tower. We’ll be waiting with the spray and McVities on the other side.