Environ builds luxury, contemporary homes across the south of England from Kent to Cornwall. We strive to create lifetime homes with a traditional and timeless beauty: from iconic, modern homes overlooking the Atlantic to spacious, unique family homes in Kentish hamlets and even cosy and peaceful retirement homes in quiet Devon market towns. Attention to detail, landscape gardens and sense of place and community are paramount.
Not for us standard boxes or boring estates. Instead, our lifetime homes come equipped with landscape gardens ideal for sustainable living and we try to achieve a real “sense of place” within our lifestyle living schemes. Through the variety and mix in Environ's modern homes developments we aim to achieve a true sense of that old fashioned notion of “community”. This is our objective and the reason we are called Environ Communities.
The quality of architecture and modern home design in the UK trails behind that of the US and mainland Europe. Through their travels, many people have now become aware of the lack of lifetime homes within the UK. Programmes such as “Grand Designs” show the different and exciting ways of living in unique, energy-efficient homes with a functional and intelligent use of space. However, we aren't all able to commission luxury, contemporary homes with their own landscape gardens.
In terms of specification, UK housing also fails in the main to include sustainable living and health values in the foundations and traditions of modern home designs. Our contemporary, energy-efficient homes are not only to be enjoyed in the short term, but will remain exemplary as lifetime homes in years to come, creating sustainable homes of the future with long term value.
Environ is not a typical modern homes builder. We want people to visit our luxury homes and be wowed by the lifestyle living on offer. We want to build lifetime, family homes for you and your family to enjoy forever. We want people to tell us, after they move into their luxury homes, that they love the unique homes we have built for them. We want to visit our schemes in years to come and still be proud of the contemporary homes, communities and landscape gardens we created for your enjoyment.
In the words of John Ruskin “When we build , let us think that we build forever”.
Ever since studying at the Cathedral School in Salisbury, Tony Dowse, the Chairman of Environ, has been fascinated by the spirituality of both buildings and settings and their effect on human happiness. At that time he started sketching houses and his interest in design flourished at his senior school under the tutelage of the famous Welsh artist Kyffin Williams followed by a foundation course at Leicester College of Art and Design.
Tony’s studies continued with a degree in urban studies from the University of London and a post graduate Diploma in Town Planning. In 1976 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
During the 1970s Tony worked as a planning consultant for international real estate company Healey and Baker and during that time became Honorary Secretary of The Land Use Society that is part of the independent Town and Country Planning Association being a leading edge think-tank that puts social justice, sustainability and the environment at the top of every debate.
Tony spent long periods during these years on inter city trains looking out at boring estates that looked the same throughout the country. He became very interested in the writings of Professor Christopher Alexander which promoted an understanding of architecture that looks far into the future yet has roots in ancient traditions. In particular Alexander illustrated the particular sub conscious likes and dislikes of individuals reacting to the built environment.
The writings of Alexander subsequently led to the “ New Urbanism” movement of which Tony is fully a part. This is an international movement to improve the sum of human happiness and revive the lost art of place making.
In 1979 Tony resolved that he should be a residential developer setting up his own residential house building company and since that time has built over a thousand houses with numerous national awards culminating in last year’s silver What House Award? for best Small House Builder in the UK.
Over the years Tony in the form of Environ has been at the forefront of innovative housing and was the first developer to introduce the highly energy efficient Super E housing from Canada that has been a major factor in promoting sustainability in the UK during the past few years. Tony has also continued as a consultant and has in recent years been an advisor to both Liberty Property Trust and Land Securities on sustainable new village development.
Tony continues to believe that housing should be “of its time” but that contemporary design can still reflect the local vernacular whilst not being a pastiche. The future form of housing will be dictated by energy and sustainability criteria but this should not rule out houses having individuality and character.
In particular Environ’s philosophy is that the inside of any house should relate to the outside space and Tony works closely with both the architects and landscape designer Julie Johnson to achieve this. Environ has been commended by the Civic Trust and a number of national landscape awards including the coveted overall UK winner of the Green Leaf Award.
The future has many challenges but Environ will continue to only build houses that Tony Dowse would be happy living in himself and schemes that create communities and a sense of place and wellbeing. Most of all Tony and everybody at Environ needs to visit a scheme after it has been built and feel proud of the end result.