A House for Essex
Holidays in modern architecture
PRESS RELEASE | Update – February 2014
Construction is underway on Living Architecture’s latest holiday rental house, A House for Essex, the design collaboration between architects FAT and the artist Grayson Perry.
Since the first press release, announcing the granting of planning permission for the house in October 2012, the final design is now complete and work commenced on site in June 2013. FAT has also announced that this (and one other project) will bring a close to their practise – a fitting end to a unique partnership.
The main contractor, Rose Builders of Manningtree in Essex, has completed the external structure of the house and the next phase is the meticulous application of the interior and exterior decorative elements.
The house is both an artwork in itself and the setting for a number of works by Essex born Grayson Perry, exploring the special character and unique qualities of Essex. FAT’s design of the house belongs to a tradition of wayside chapels and pilgrimage sites, and to a language of follies and objects of interest in the landscape. Grayson Perry’s concept is that it feels as though the house belongs to a specific person, Julie, who is an imaginary everywoman. Her life is told through the artwork in the house – she was born in the south west of Essex, and has migrated constantly and gradually northeast until she came to her final home in the top right hand corner of the county. As she made that journey she encountered many of life’s ordinary triumphs and tragedies; a difficult childhood, young love, a truncated education, children, divorce, and finally fulfilment in her career and her love life: all of this will be told through artworks in the house.
The house will reflect all the aspects of her story and journey. There is a large team of crafts people and contractors tasked with turning the design into reality. For example, the building will be clad in sculptured ceramic tiles to tone with the surrounding landscape which are being hand made by Shaws of Darwen and specialist fabricators Millimetre is casting and finishing the roof sculptures from their studio near Brighton. With the complexity in marrying the creative process with general construction techniques, the next phase of the project cannot be rushed it is expected that the house will open for Autumn/ Winter 2014.
Speaking recently, Perry said of the Living Architecture project ‘When people come to stay in the house they will literally be immersed in Julie’s life complete with many references to the places she lived in Essex. This house will end up as a very special sort of holiday let, one where you are a guest in an intriguing sculpture built to embody an imagined life. As well as enjoying calm rural surroundings of this special corner of Essex’.