RIBA South Award

Private House, Oxfordshire | Richard Meier & Partners Architects with Berman Guedes Stretton

The brief for the Oxfordshire Residence was to create an ambitious modern home, based on the idea of the reinvention of the country house and 'adding to architectural traditions rather than parody’ of traditional architecture. What has been achieved is a house of exceptional, enduring quality and detail, which we observed was clearly enjoyed by the users.

The rigour with which detailing and coordination through monitoring of construction quality had been undertaken was very impressive, particularly as the project was delivered through collaboration across the Atlantic. A number of the construction techniques were transplanted from the US and applied in a UK context, including the joinery, alongside developments of European systems in bespoke ways, e.g. Schueco tailored their windows to be flush with the render exterior.

Whilst the scheme was described as 'simple, graceful and elegant’, the jury found the house to be a remarkable, bold and stark addition to the countryside setting. A trademark feature of Richard Meier is the ‘very’ white, white (RAL 9016), which gave a unified experience between the spaces of a variety of scales. Framed views of the Oxfordshire countryside were set against the surprisingly domestic scaled settings and rooms within such a large house, (1,000sqm).

To a large degree, the quality of the modern addition to the setting relies on contrast with the mature landscape setting with ‘stark white’ appearance. The proportions of the volumes which comprise the principal spaces of the house and their interrelationship with the composition of the façade, are all handled in a manner that can be recognised from other Meier houses.

Overall, a remarkable house.

Source: RIBA