Fayland House, near Henley-on-Thames, in Oxfordshire, may have been named best house in the world by The Architectural Review, but its next-door neighbours have been left far from impressed by t...
Fayland House, near Henley-on-Thames, in Oxfordshire, may have been named best house in the world by The Architectural Review, but its next-door neighbours have been left far from impressed by the flat, grey building
Fayland House, near Henley-on-Thames, in Oxfordshire Photo: BNPS
It won over the judges with its "restrained opulence" and the "uncomfortable girth" of its columns.
But the Oxfordshire property named the world's best house by a panel of architectural experts failed to impress its next-door neighbours, who thought it so ugly they asked the owners to plant a row of trees to hide it from sight.
Fayland House, designed for property developer Mike Spink and his wife Maria, has an enviable location in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty within the Chilterns, and just north of middle-class haven Henley-on-Thames.
But the striking home may raise eyebrows among traditionalists for its futuristic style and unrelentingly grey exterior.
Unlike the traditional English stately home, Fayland House, which beat off global competition to win The Architectural Review's House Awards 2015, is severe and minimalist in style.
Judges admitted the "rigid" and "subversive" property "does push what a house is" - and the stark and flat design was evidently not to the couple's neighbours' taste.The international architecture magazine stated: "On the building's completion, one of the Spinks' neighbours felt compelled to ask them to plant a wall of conifers to hide it from view."Fayland House, designed by David Chipperfield Architects, was described in the publication as "a radical new take on the English country house".The choice of Fayland House is a marked contrast to last year's winner, House for Trees in Vietnam, a design made up of five gigantic plant pots.Granted planning permission because of its location on a site which had little to commend it, the Chilterns home replaces an early 20th-century property and a mess of outbuildings described as a "visual confusion" by Architectural Review.The new single-storey building has three bedrooms, a gym, library and internal courtyard.Eleven grey columns stand on a terrace at the front of the property, which offers spectacular views of the rolling hills and Oxfordshire countryside.Christine Murray, editor of Architectural Review said: "The judges set themselves a difficult task: they wanted to find a house that was not just well-designed, but subversive in some way."They found in Chipperfield's Fayland House a plan that subverted the expectations set up by its rigid, rhythmic facade. The uncomfortable girth of the columns and the way they mediated the landscape was also mentioned. The project pushes at boundaries."They also found its restrained opulence interesting, but I think the real enthusiasm was in the courtyards embedded in its asymmetrical plan and that beautiful enfilade. The plan was the thing."