Flint House, Waddesdon Residence, Grand Designs House of the Year 2015, Winning Building
Flint House, Waddesdon
Royal Institute of British Architects Prize Winner – Luxury UK Home + Architects
25 Nov 2015
Flint House, Waddesdon Residence
Grand Designs: House of the Year 2015
Design: Skene Catling de la Pena
Flint House, Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, England
We revealed the shortlisted houses every week, with the winner announced today, 25 November. The houses were chosen from the RIBA House of the Year longlist.
ARCHITECT: SKENE CATLING DE LA PENA
AWARDS WON: RIBA NATIONAL AWARD 2015
RIBA SOUTH AWARD 2015
RIBA SOUTH BUILDING OF THE YEAR 2015
Photographs: James Morris
This is a rare example of a poetic narrative whose realisation remains true to the original concept.
The site is a seam of flint geology surrounded by ploughed fields with the flints sitting on the surface. The project is conceived as two wedges of that geology thrusting up through the flat landscape. Their bases are knapped flint and slowly change in construction and texture until they become chalk walling, dissolving into the sky.
The house forms accommodation for family members, guests and artists. Internally the spaces carefully frame the landscape and provide a rich sequence of experiences, including a small rivulet of water that that cuts a grotto through a corner of the main house. Magic.
Website: Flint House, Waddesdon
CONTRACTOR: KINGERLEE LTD
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS: HASKINS ROBINSON WATERS (HRW)
M&E ENGINEERS: MAX FORDHAM
CONSULTING ARCHITECT: MARC FROHN
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS: MARY KEEN & PIP MORRISON
COST CONSULTANT: SELWAY JOYCE PARTNERSHIP
LIGHTING DESIGN: SPELLMAN KNOWLTON LIGHTING
INTERIOR DESIGN: DAVID MLINARIC
MATERIAL CONSULTANT: THE FLINTMAN COMPANY LTD
According to the architects, this is a ‘flint and chalk house and annex’:
“Stone age: Located on a seam of chalk that extends from the White Cliffs of Dover through to Norfolk on the east coast of Britain, the building is treated as landscape or geological extrusion. Flint is an ancient material related to jasper, obsidian and onyx; a hard, cryptocrystalline form of quartz found only in chalk, and in abundance on the surface of the ploughed fields surrounding the site.”
Flint House, Buckinghamshire by Skene Catling De La Pena – RIBA House of the Year Winner
The house sits within the grounds of a wider estate and forms accommodation for visitors who include family members as well as artists. The building is split into two parts: the main house plus an annexe. The building is constructed of masonry with flint cladding. The project is a rare example of a poetic narrative whose realisation remains true to the original concept. The site is on a seam of flint geology and is surrounded by ploughed fields where the flint sits on the surface. The building is conceived as a piece of that geology thrusting up through the flat landscape.
The innovation and beauty of the scheme is particularly evident in the detail of the cladding that starts at the base as knapped flint and slowly changes in construction and texture until it becomes chalk blocks at the highest point. This gives both a feeling of varying geological strata with the building dissolving as it reaches to the sky. The architects worked with a number of specialist and skilled craftsmen to achieve the end result. The development is part of a wider artistic project that has involved engagement with artists, photographers and musicians.
Internally the spaces carefully frame the landscape and provide a rich sequence of spaces including a small rivulet of water that snakes under part of the main house. Given the nature of the client and the brief, one might suggest that the project was able to push boundaries that many architects and clients would not be able to. But conversely, patronage has often been crucial in allowing the development of the arts and architecture.
The building is an example of an innovative piece of architecture that suggests a typology for the one-off house that is not an object in the landscape but is of the landscape; yet is not so deferential to nature, that it isn’t challenging, dramatic, and most of all poetic. Flint House stood out as a significant project from the initial submissions. The photographs of the building had a painterly, almost ethereal quality. Expectations were therefore high when the judges visited the building but remarkably that poetic quality was evident in the flesh. Of all the projects visited it had the strongest narrative, passionately explained by the architect, and evident in the end result. This is a beautiful addition to a beautiful landscape.
Flint House Buckinghamshire
– RIBA South and South East Regional Awards 2015 Shortlist
To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.
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photo © Richard Bryant
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Comments / photos for the Flint House Waddesdon Residence – Buckinghamshire Architecture page welcome
Flint House, Waddesdon Residence Building
Website : Waddesdon