England’s new mansions: monstrous carbuncles or superb architecture?


England's new mansions: monstrous carbuncles or superb architecture?

Are the rural mansions that are cropping up across the country carbuncling Britain’s green belts, or are they adorning our fields and meadows with superb architecture?

That question has jumped into focus among architects and conservationists alike after planning approval was granted for a vast country pile in Warwickshire. Designed in the grand classical manner by Robert Adam, one of the Prince of Wales’s favourite architects, it is one of many such mansions being nodded through following little-noticed changes in the law.

The planned stone and stucco building will be erected on a disused railway embankment – and developers have underlined that the project will also involve the creation of “new woodland and hedgerows, native wildflower meadows, ponds, ditches and an orchard”.

Architectural tastes vary, of course. Design hipsters, outraged by the project’s traditionalist commitments, will even now be texting volleys of “WTF”s. Other newly approved designs, like the futuristic country pad Serenity, near Nottingham, offend different groups. “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” will no doubt be scrawling hate mail in green ink addressed to Baca, the clever young architectural practice behind it, to complain at what they see as an amoeba-like monstrosity. ….