A House For Essex

Charles Holland, Grayson Perry

    Research output: Non-textual outputArtefact


    A House for Essex (AHFE) is a collaborative architecture project designed and developed by the architect Charles Holland and the artist Grayson Perry. The output is a built work located in north Essex that comprises two interconnected architectural functions: a house and a (secular) chapel. These twin uses allowed the project to explore the content, form and fabrication of ornament and decoration in contemporary architecture.

    The principal research context for the project was the role of ornament and decoration in architecture since the advent of postmodernism. While modernism was critical of the use of historic forms of decoration, postmodernism offered a re-engagement with ornament. AHFE related to this recent re-engagement whilst developing new research by addressing the content of contemporary decoration, in order to create meaningful narrative and symbolic aspects and address a broad range of decorative techniques including sculpture, relief pattern and three-dimensional symbolism. In doing so, the project expands the language of contemporary ornament and decoration.

    An open-ended creative collaboration with the artist Grayson Perry explored these themes through an engagement with the artist’s specific material and production processes, ceramics, textiles and casting. The emphasis on fabrication and making generated new approaches to construction and the relationship of contemporary buildings to craft. Finally, the use of a coherent internal narrative – the story of the house’s fictional occupant – allowed for the development of specific content for contemporary forms of decoration.

    Since its completion in 2015, the project has been disseminated through papers, lectures, studies, articles and exhibitions. It was the subject of a one-off television documentary broadcast on Channel 4 and has been featured in numerous books and magazine articles.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationWrabness, Essex
    Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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