The tradition of building houses overnight was common across Wales between the 17th and 19th centuries. According to tradition, an individual could claim a home on common land by building a house on it between sunset and dawn the next day. In order to claim the building and the land, smoke had to be coming from the chimney before dawn. As well as claiming the land where the house was built, some areas of Wales had unique traditions and rules to accompany the practice of building a house in one night. In the Denbighshire area, house builders were able to claim land around the property up to the distance they could throw an axe from the four corners of the house!
The walls were generally simple structures built of wattle and daub or turf with the roof covered with straw.
Once the structure had been completed between sunset and dawn the owner could improve the structure in the future. Over time the owner would secure solid foundations for the property, build it from stone and slate the roof. The cottages often had a floor to create a bedroom or loft for the family.
There are not many surviving examples of ‘tai unnos’ because of its simple construction. The Llainfadyn cottage which was relocated to St Fagans Museum and opened to the public in 1962 is one such example. It was originally built in 1762 at Rhostryfan, Gwynedd. The original owner was a quarryman and over a period of time between 1762 and 1870 the house was furnished. Rooms would be created by dividing the house with furniture e.g. dresser, table or bread and cheese cupboard. Over time the owner would extend the cottage by building a cowshed and a sty to keep pigs, cow and chickens in order to feed the family.
The tradition of building houses overnight apparently existed in Ireland, Italy, France and Turkey over the centuries.
Do you like to go to your room to hide sometimes – to escape everyone? Well, don't go and live in this house because there's nowhere to hide here.
This transparent house in Tokyo, Japan, is very different from any other house in the same street. Instead of walls of concrete blocks, the walls are made of glass and this, of course, makes the house transparent.
Sou Fujimoto is the architect who designed the house and he wanted to create the idea of living inside a tree. So, the building has three main floors, but between these there are 21 'floor plates' or platforms, with stairs or ladders linking them together. Moving between them is like bouncing from branch to branch on a tree.
The house is built around a frame of steel. There aren't many walls but because they're made of glass, you can see what people are doing in other parts of the house all the time. It's not just that, anyone passing by on the street can see what you're doing as well. So, there's nowhere to hide!
Since the architect designed this house he has won a competition in conjunction with a Paris-based architecture firm to design a unique green village called Mille Arbres (Thousand Trees). The building will be completed in 2022 with a clear view of the Eiffel Tower, Paris.
Eco Village – House for sale - £455,000
LivEco - An Award-winning Eco Village on the edge of Cardiff
Situated on Michaelson Road, Sain Ffagans, Cardiff, Great House farm is a new award winning eco village development offering intelligent homes designed specifically for healthy living and well-being with ample green space and low energy bills for life. The eco village of 13 houses with a choice of 2 – 4 bedroom is situated on the edge of Cardiff with far reaching views of the Cardiff valley.
The complex of eco houses will give people the opportunity to live a carbon free lifestyle and low bills for life!!
Lower Fuel Bills – super insulation, air tight design, heat pumps, underfloor heating and energy saving appliances.
Renewables – all fitted as standard, PV panels on the roof to generate energy and batteries in the home to store the energy for you.
Electric Car Charger – sustainable transport for all and free travel with a smart car charger fitted to all homes.
Landscape – greens and gardens have been thoughtfully designed by a landscape architect, with edible bushes and plants to harvest.
Health and Well Being – private air filtration systems ensure fresh air all around the home, increased ceiling heights and extra glazing enhance the feeling of spaciousness and light.
The eco village is set within a peaceful rural setting on the doorstep of the capital city of Wales with its huge range of amenities, services and excellent rail and road links and access to the international airport.
Would you consider living in an Eco Village of the future?
I thought I’d get in touch because I was so homesick. I thought I would enjoy the buzz of London and the experience of city life. The first week was enjoyable when visiting the different sights and wonders here but now the traffic, the underground trains and the hubbub of the city make me appreciate the silence and beauty of the Anglesey countryside.
I’m looking forward to returning soon from my holidays and experiencing the beauty and greenery of the farm and the sound of the animals in the yard again. I'm even fed up of eating out and looking forward to having Nain’s tasty Sunday dinner and homemade rice pudding.
It is true to say that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and I’m looking forward to being home in less than a week.
Syria: Inside a refugee camp
12 February 2020
Atmeh, Syria – 14 January 2013: Syrian children live at the camp for displaced persons outside the town of Atmeh in Idlib Province. They and their families have been driven from their homes by the ongoing civil war in Syria.
"Why do I have to stay here?" asks Ali. "I speak four languages and I'm a doctor in my own country. Why can't I go on from Turkey to Europe where I can help people and where I can give my wife and children a real home?"
Ali, like thousands of similar men, has fled his home in Syria because of the fighting in the town where they lived.
"I didn't want to leave," he says. "That's where my home was. That's where my roots were. That's where I was born and raised. That's where I got married and that's where my two sons were born. That's where we were happy as a family."
Outside their tent, Anissa, his wife, sits in front of a small fire. Nearby, their two sons kick a ball, without showing any desire or enjoyment. They see me... and ignore me. As I approach, Anissa looks up from the fire for a moment and gives me a faint, unfeeling smile.
"We're worried about the kids," Ali says. "They should be in school. I try to teach them but without books that's difficult. We worry about the friends they make too. Life is difficult here."
"Life is difficult here!" That says it it all in four words - but they're not enough to convey how terrible life is in this inhumane place. Filth... illness... stench... people fighting to see a doctor... girls washing clothes in bowls alongside a community tap. There's no self-esteem here.
"This is home for the time being... but one day, who knows?" Ali comforts himself, as I leave.
Would you like to live in a house like this?
The Haines Shoe House is a unique structure near the Lincoln Highway in York County, Pennsylvania, USA.
The Icon in St Kilda, an apartment block designed by Jackson Clements Burrow and nicknamed "Lego building". Melbourne, Australia.
A traditionally built south African hut used by indigenous people.
Wooden tree house near the sea on Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia.
An ancient cave home in tufa formations in a Turkish village at Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey.
Welcome to Wales – home sweet home
As we venture out the short clip by Visit Wales welcomes people back to Wales to explore their square mile, continue to care for each other and our communities and to enjoy our country.