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This project was commissioned by Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture company as a contemporary interpretation of the wayside or pilgrimage chapel. Designed by FAT Architecture in collaboration with the artist Grayson Perry, the house sits on the slopes of the Stour estuary in north Essex. The landscape around it is both bucolic and industrial including ancient woodland, rolling farmland and the container ships of Felixstowe port.


The form and decoration of the house explores the historic and contemporary character of Essex, particularly through a number of specially commissioned artworks made by Grayson Perry. The exterior is clad in bespoke ceramic tiles designed by Perry and the roof features a number of cast aluminium figurative sculptures. Inside, the building is part house and part gallery. Conceived as an enfilade of spaces that build in intensity towards the main Living Room/Chapel space, the interior pays homage to range of sources including arts and crafts architecture, English baroque and the folk architecture of stave churches.


The house has recently been shortlisted for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe European Award for Architecture.


A House For Essex was designed by FAT and Grayson Perry.

A House For Essex

Charles Holland Architects

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