Last year, architect Adam Richards revealed Nithurst Farm, his self-designed family home in the South Downs National Park. We’re pleased to share a new film exploring the far-reaching ideas and references that informed the convention-defying design of the house, as well as the intimate realities of daily life in the space, one year on.
Head of his namesake practice, based in Sussex and London, Richards oversees his studio’s work on residential and cultural projects that have most notably included the Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft and the Gardens Learning Centre and Café at Walmer Castle. The handling of such buildings by ARA is one they define as an approach that seeks ‘to transform the deeper themes within its projects into engaging critical, spatial, social and structural propositions.’ This often translates to an engagement with the historical context of a site, so that an extension to a neo-classical Georgian townhouse in Notting Hill takes the form of an abstracted Greek temple, or a refurb to Arundel Lido is informed by a nearby Roman villa.
When it came to designing his own home, Richards had the freedom of a blank page. The brief was to create a new-build home for him and his family on a site at the bottom of a valley, surrounded by the woodlands and farmland of West Sussex. With creative freedom came the incorporation of seemingly disparate sources of inspiration, everything from the cinematic tactility of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 Soviet art house hit, Stalker, to the classical plan of Andrea Palladio’s Renaissance masterpiece, Villa Barbaro, and Robert Mangold’s 1970s minimalist work of geometric abstractions. The resulting building is one that plays with time, style and detail in surprising and unexpected ways, to appear as a “Roman ruin wrapped around a modern concrete house,” according to Richards.