A House for Essex

Living Architecture - Holidays in Modern Architecture Wrabness / United Kingdom / 2015

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The building has been designed to evoke a tradition of wayside and pilgrimage chapels in the landscape. It is a singular building, appearing as a small, beautifully crafted object amongst the trees and fields.


The house does not attempt to mimic the appearance or materials of existing buildings in the local village of Wrabness. Instead, it offers a unique addition. Its materials and forms are sympathetic to the site and the area’s sense of remoteness. For example, hand-made tiles relate tonally to the landscape while the building’s simple pitched roof forms echo simple agricultural buildings and farmhouses.


The form of the house is solid and barn-like. A series of simple, house forms step up in scale from the entrance to the main living room space. Each of these spaces is expressed externally as a volume in its own right. The building gets higher as it steps down the hill with the tallest volume at the lowest point. It therefore presents two different faces, a modestly scaled entrance porch to the south and a taller more formal frontage to the north.


Visitors entering the house from the south pass through a series of spaces that become increasingly formal, culminating in a double-height living room lined with decorative timber panelling and Grayson Perry´s richly coloured tapestries. Upstairs there are two bedrooms which have views across the landscape to the east and west.


The stepping up of the volumes creates a series of interlocking spaces on the inside where each pushes into the other. The first floor bedrooms, for instance, will also have balconies that look into the living room space and the bath offers an unusual location from which to observe visitors in the hallway.


The interior of the house contains a number of specially commissioned art works by Grayson Perry including beautiful tapestries, pots, decorative timberwork and mosaic floors, celebrating the history and psyche of Essex.


You can view a video tour of the house filmed by BBC News. And hear Grayson Perry being interviewed by Will Gompertz on Radio 4's Today Programme (starts at 02:22:38). Read about the project in the Evening Standard, The Observer and The Guardian.

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    The building has been designed to evoke a tradition of wayside and pilgrimage chapels in the landscape. It is a singular building, appearing as a small, beautifully crafted object amongst the trees and fields. The house does not attempt to mimic the appearance or materials of existing buildings in the local village of Wrabness. Instead, it offers a unique addition. Its materials and forms are sympathetic to the site and the area’s sense of remoteness. For example, hand-made tiles relate...

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