Details of virtual event celebrating 40-year anniversary of groundbreaking international exhibition in Milton Keynes revealed

The message of the environmentally-conscious housing exhibition remains as important now, as it was back in 1981.

By James Lowson
Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 11:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 2:02 pm

Milton Keynes hosted Homeworld '81, an international housing expo, that explored innovative, sustainable housing design possibilities.

Between May 4-16, a series of online programme of talks, screenings, events and activities are scheduled to celebrate this event.

This free online programme will explore innovation then and how it relates to Milton Keynes now, with the new town’s aspirations to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2050.

Homeworld 81'

In May 1981, 150,000 people flocked to this event promoting ideas of energy conservation, against the backdrop of the oil crisis of the 1970s.

Thirty-six homes were designed and built in Bradwell Common, by an international group of developers and architects which included celebrated New Zealand Architect Roger Walker’s only building in the UK, the World House.

Ranging from studio starter homes to large five-bed detached houses, Homeworld incorporated innovative building techniques as well as internal features such as alternative heating systems and energy saving appliances. Homeworld 81 laid the groundwork and standards for what has now become commonplace in many of today’s homes.

The Sunday Times, Ideal Home Magazine and the BBC’s Money Programme – which monitored the energy efficiency of Superhomes’ Future House 2000 for a year after it was built – also supported the project and help to drive visitors from across the UK to Milton Keynes.

Homeworld and its lessons are as relevant today as they were in 1981, as supporting the environment remains a pertinent issue.

Two further exhibitions with similar motives of exploring housing innovations followed: Energyworld in 1986 and Futureworld in 1992.

Living Archive MK, Pooleyville and MK Council are collaborating to make this event possible.

The programme features contributions from:

- Architect John Doggart, who played a central role in the delivery of Homeworld 81, as well as co-developing the first energy rating system for housing.

- Professor Tadj Oreszczyn, Professor of Energy and Environment, UCL Energy Institute.

- Curl La Tourelle Head Architects on the unique design importance of new towns.

- Ben Adam-Smith, Founder of Home Planning Help on what people can do themselves to make their own homes and garden spaces greener and healthier places to live.

- Josh Tidy, Heritage Manager, at the Letchworth Garden City Archives will discuss the 1905 Cheap Cottages Exhibition – an early example of Housing Expos in the UK.

A specially commissioned documentary film, produced by the Living Archive MK, combining archival material and interviews with those involved with Homeworld 81 will also premiere as part of the programme.