House of Essex in picture

This is House of Essex, a fantasy world and a fusion of art and architecture. Overlooking the Stour estuary in north Essex, not so far from London, the building sits amidst Wrabness, awakening this otherwise sleepy village with its fantastically eccentric appearance.

There is something of Hansel and Gretel about this collaboration between architect FAT and the Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry for the Living Architecture series.

The building responds to its rural setting through its form and materials. The pitched roof references local farmhouses, whilst the structure has been clad with some 2000 bespoke ceramic tiles from originals created by Perry. The roof is adorned by three large cast aluminium roof sculptures designed by the two.

House of Essex is dedicated to a fictional character, a secular ‘saint’ named Julie Cope, conceived by Perry.

Despite its eccentric external appearance, the interior is a mix of domesticity and an exhibition space for Perry’s artwork and tapestries, created specifically for this project. Together they tell the story of Cope’s life and death.

Like all Living Architecture’s properties House for Essex is available to rent as a short-term holiday home.

Read about Living Architecture’s Single House here.

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Living in NORD’s Shingle House

Dungeness is not a place associated with holidays or relaxing. Its bleak shingle beach, dotted with old fishermen’s huts and with views to one of the country’s older nuclear power stations, is only an oddly appealing landscape. The skies are vast and often the only sign of life is the world’s smallest railway trundling past.

It is in this back corner of the UK’s Kent coast that Living Architecture chose to locate its second destination – the Shingle House.

Designed by young Glaswegian architect NORD, the house takes on the footprint of its predecessor and is divided into three main areas, a kitchen/dining space, a bath-house and the main living and sleeping quarters complete with mezzanine level.

The building’s tarred timber cut shingles give it a cocoon-like appearance, which is welcoming when arctic winds are blowing outside. Inside a combination of whitewashed wooden walls and polished concrete floors are interspersed with a series of soft furnishings, giving a more homely feel to what is essentially a who’s who of interior design.

Winter guests will welcome the wood burning stove and sunken bath, where a floor length window lets you enjoy ground-level views of the landscape.

Everything here has been thought through, from the Peter Reed-designed bed linen and high-tech Miele kitchen, to windows positioned so dinner guests can get views of the power station and horizon.

The grey shingle and vast skies give even more meaning to the comfort and luxury that enwrap you here.

Led by its creative director, writer/philosopher Alain de Botton, Living Architecture offers the public a chance to experience living in houses designed by the likes of NORD, Zumthor, Michael & Patty Hopkins, Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects and MVRDV. The holiday lets are set in some of the most unusual locations around the country.

Guest blogger Andrea Klettner
Andrea spent a weekend at the Shingle House. For more on this visit
Living ArchitectureRead her blog Love London Council Housing

Design Talks | 5 – 25 Scrutton Street | Old Street | Shoreditch | London | EC2A 4HJ?W | www.d-talks.com | Bookshop www.d-talks.com/bookshop | Published by Banksthomas

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