It looks like a boring slab of concrete to the untrained eye, but according to the judges of the Architectural Review House Awards, this concrete home is the best house in the world.
Owned by multi-millionaire property developer Mike Spink and his wife Maria, Fayland House in Oxfordshire, England has beaten off competition from around the world to be crowned best house in the Architectural Review’s House Awards — and many people are asking why.
Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the country home doesn’t look very homely at all. It has eleven concrete columns at the front of the house as well as a flat roof making it look kind of like an industrial workshop. Inside, its rooms are colourless and almost empty, making it look quite clinical and dull.
Architectural Review editor Christine Murray wrote that the judges of this year’s awards found Fayland House to be one of the best houses from the last five years, because it “subverted the expectations set up by its rigid, rhythmical facade.
“They also found its restrained opulence interesting, but I think the real enthusiasm was in the courtyards embedded in its asymmetric plan and that beautiful enfilade.
“There is accomplished design and perfect detailing here, but also something challenging, uneasy.”
Judge Adam Caruso, a high profile architect, was also impressed by the home.
“To make a luxury home that isn’t pompous or a projection of the vanity of its inhabitants is a really difficult thing,” he wrote.
“Fayland House places a very large house in a special landscape without disappearing. The domestic outdoor spaces, which have always been an issue in English country houses, are in courtyards, which is an innovation.”
Judge Sofia Von Ellrichshausen, from Pezo Von Ellrichshausen Architects, added: “Fayland House does push what a house is. It takes normal elements and manipulates them.
“That colonnade in the front and the way it modulates the scale on the landscape is very interesting.
“It also seems to be very rigid from the outside, but the plan is a lot less obvious, offering differing levels of privacy, and arranged around courtyards.”
Take a virtual tour around the house for yourself. What do you think?
The house is set on a 50-acre plot with picturesque views of the countryside, which is one positive.
The plot was originally occupied by an early 20th-century house said to be of no ‘architectural value’ – which was made up of a series of eight buildings, including stables, a gym, a greenhouse and an outdoor swimming pool, and was knocked down in 2008 to make way for the concrete mansion.
Do you think this is the best home in the world? Have your say in the comments below!