A House for Essex

Manningtree, United Kingdom | C.2015

Photo Credit: Louise Walsh

A collaboration between contemporary artist Grayson Perry and Fat Architecture, A House for Essex is truly an intersection of design and a dream realized. Commissioned in 2015, the building is located in the town of Manningtree in Essex, England.

When Living Architecture, a not-for-profit holiday home rental company, comissioned Perry to create a home overlooking the river Strour, Perry turned to his long-held desire to build a chapel that depicted the history of his home county, Essex. He did so by crafting the home as a testament to Julie Cope – a fictional character and “an every-woman of Essex”.

The two story home embraces the traditions of Russian Stave churches and chapels, clad in two-thousand handmade tiles all created by Grayson. His original paintings fill the walls, including an immersive experience of the fictional life of Julie Cope. Bright, eclectic murals within the home tell the fabricated tale of Julie, born in Canvey Island in 1953, grew up to marry Dave, and then must deal with the trials and tribulations of an ordinary life gone awry.

Requiring five years of construction, the A House for Essex has been called the ultimate “Gesamkunstkwerk”, German for “a work of art that makes use of all or many art form”. With its use of contemporary art, architecture, and a fictional life that can be understood by so many, The A House for Essex certainly is Perry’s ultimate work of art.

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