A House for Essex House Tour / Cog Design / 2015

A House for Essex House Tour / Cog Design / 2015


Holland was staying in A House for Essex with his family when he showed me around. “It’s a massive mausoleum or casket,” he said. “It avoids whimsy by being a story that’s tragic – there are uncomfortable aspects to it – and because architecturally and spatially it’s very formally constructed.” Having completed our tour of the exterior, he jokes, “Inside it’s much more restrained.”


Holland, as already noted, acknowledges the influence of Soane in creating this world of sensory richness, particularly his house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which employs screens and mirrors to dissolve boundaries and create theatrical ambiguities of space. But the influence of all FAT’s favourite architects is referenced in this final, scholarly and eclectic building: Venturi and Scott Brown (“in the pop reworking of modernist and classical elements”); Vanbrugh (“the screens at Audley End, his mansion in Essex”), Lutyens (“the way in his country houses he sets up a strong axial root and perversely ends it in a blank wall, as we do from the front door to the kitchen”), Voysey (“there is an Arts and Crafts vibe generally”) and Loos (“in the colours – his early stuff is eye-popping, for all his dictums about ornament and crime”). Holland sits on the edge of the large green bathtub that is suspended over the hallway and from which you can look out through a small window over the front door: “You can repel all invaders from your position here,” he says. ➡︎

Here, Holland and Perry have done what others have not been able to do. They have assimilated ornament into the design. It is not just applied as a layer but subsumed into the architecture. The distance is created through the make-believe of the narrative — it is, after all, a temple with no religion to a character who never existed. ➡︎


▶︎ Grayson Perry's Dream House (Clip): Grayson Perry's Tour of 'A House for Essex' - Director's Cut / Channel 4

◼︎ Grayson Perry's sketchbook / Icon / 2015

A House For Essex / FAT (Fashion Architecture Taste)

 A House For Essex / Charles Holland Architects

▶︎ A House for Essex – Timelapse / Cog Design / 2015

▶︎ Lecture: A House For Essex and Other Stories / Charles Holland / 2015


◼︎ A House For Essex by Grayson Perry and FAT / Christopher Turner / Icon / 2015

◼︎ Architecture explained — with the help of Grayson Perry’s shrine / Edwin Heathcote / Financial Times / 2015

Protection / Massive Attack / Michel Gondry / 1995

Protection / Massive Attack / Michel Gondry / 1995

Who would holiday in a house like this? / Channel 4 News / 2015

Who would holiday in a house like this? / Channel 4 News / 2015