Best House of the Year: A Minimalist Country Manor by David Chipperfield
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A UK property developer aspires to reinvent the country pile on a wooded chalk escarpment of more than 300 square miles in the Chiltern Hills. Enter the renowned British architect David Chipperfield , who has a reputation for being historically attuned and place specific (think the breathtaking reconstruction of Berlin’s Neues Museum). Chipperfield's solution was to restore the landscape and rethink the country house concept. He removed the existing two-story house and various outbuildings and then embedded a new minimalist, single-story structure, Fayland House, into the landscape, creating a large, three-bedroom house with expansive views of the surrounding countryside. Bold and foolhardy, maybe, but this innovative design gesture was noticed by the jurors of the AR (the UK’s Architectural Review magazine) House Awards last month when they awarded it first prize for Best New House of the year. Glorified wartime bunker or ingenious minimalist manor house? You decide. Photography by Simon Menges via Dezeen , unless otherwise noted. Above: Fayland House is embedded into a densely wooded site in Chiltern Hills, near Henley on Thames. "On the one hand, the house appears as a natural escarpment in the landscape, while on the other it affirms itself as a manmade structure expressed by the robust brick columns placed in front," writes the architect on his website. Photograph by Rik Nys via David Chipperfield . Above: Minimalist details and a calming neutral palette continue throughout the house. Above: The design makes the most of the far reaching views of the surrounding countryside. Above: Rough and smooth: The texture of the exposed white brick walls contrasts with the polished terrazzo floors. Above: A view into the kitchen. Above: With four sunken internal courtyard spaces, Fayland House has an abudance of natural light, even in the bathroom. Above: Views of the countryside are accessible from the internal courtyard. Photograph by Rik Nys via David Chipperfield Above: The minimalist architecture provides framed views of the trees in the courtyard. Above: The reinstating of the landscape included removing conifers and suburban plantings, and restoring native hedgerows as well as introducing areas of new native woodland plantings. Above: The grand stairs typically associated with a manor house have been turned 90 degrees and come down the side of the colonnaded loggia, which stretches across the whole width of the house. Photograph by Rik Nys via David Chipperfield . Above: The subtle colors of the English countryside as viewed from a minimalist loggia. Photograph by Rik Nys via David Chipperfield . Above: Fayland House is embedded on the site in a field facing southwest toward the valley. Above: The plan of Fayland House shows the main living spaces opening onto the loggia, while ancillary rooms, further into the house, open onto smaller courtyards. Above: A model of Fayland House illustrates its relationship to the landscape. Photograph by Richard Davies via David Chipperfield . Want to channel a minimalist manor in your home? In April, David Chipperfield launched a collection of Minimal Furniture inspired by the countryside. For more British minimalism, see the work of a Chipperfield protégé Jonathan Tuckey in The Life Aquatic: A London Mews House for a Submariner and Divine Intervention: The Providence Chapel in Wiltshire . More Stories from Remodelista Vote for the Best Living/Dining Space in the Remodelista Considered Design Awards: Professional Category The Smallable Apartment: At Home with a Parisian Shopkeeper Congratulations to Our Finalists: Now It's Time to Vote!