Location: Essex, England
Architect: Fashion Architecture Taste, Grayson Perry
Standing in the middle of an empty meadow along the coast northeast of London, A House for Essex is an outstanding new example of a style known as “Radical Postmodernism.” This house – funded by holiday home rental company Living Architecture and designed by FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste) in collaboration with contemporary artist Grayson Perry – was sited in isolation so that its features could be appreciated in the round. Designed and built with the culture of the North Essex coast in mind, the detailing of the house references the many historic pilgrimage chapels and other small colorful buildings that dot the landscape of the region without imitating them; A House for Essex stands out from the crowd.
The house is clad in custom ceramic tiles and sits under a thick gold-plated aluminum roof. It is designed to appear from the outside as four separate parts, as the roof is broken into a succession of walls that scale up toward the ocean. Along the middle of the roofline are four distinct weather vanes that loosely tell the story of a woman that Perry made up as the client for the house, named Julie. Like many other houses from FAT, A House for Essex was designed to experiment with the typical pitched-roof house design. The collaborative designed it to be a constant reminder of this imaginary client, and its scale makes it comparable to a folly or monument.
The house is also an example of a creatively small living situation. Inside, the two bedrooms on the top floor have views of the ocean from large semi-circular windows, as well as balconies that overlook the double height living room that constitutes the majority of the building. Where there might otherwise be a chandelier hangs a vintage motorcycle that dangles over the living space. The one bathroom of the house has a precarious spot just above the entrance, while it is revealed in section that the jug-shaped roof ornament is the spout of the chimney for the living and dining rooms. For such a small house, there are a surprising number of unique moments of interaction.
A House for Essex features a number of works by Perry, a local artist whose vibrant tapestries and pottery continue the narrative of the building’s ornaments. The house will be used as a vacation spot for travelers starting this spring.