Richard Woods ‘Estate’ is a 70,000 sq ft drawing, mapped out onto the ornamental lawn at Houghton Hall. The work is designed to only last a single day. It’s a type of ‘barn raising’, a performative work, where the enormous architectural image is measured and then sketched out over the course of a few hours.
The house is generic in appearance. It’s got a couple of windows, a single door and one chimney. Just the basics of what it needs to be considered a house.
The work which is the size of a football pitch was inspired by trips to see the Uffington Horse and the Cerne Abbas Giant. I was inspired by the way those monumental earthworks are only truly visible from the air, they weren’t intended for the gazes of the ground dwellers, but for the Gods to admire.
I was also interested in how the invention of manned flight and more recently how Google Earth had changed our familiarity with these enormous artistic gestures.
‘Estate’ continues my ongoing interest in blurring the boundaries between art, design and architecture. And how through our desire to manipulate the spaces we live in, from the earliest examples of cave paintings through to the contemporary expressions of DIY and home improvement, we can chart a profound relationship with our built or modified environment.
The house stands on the magnificent Houghton Hall lawn, and I want its relationship to the grass to be kept open ended. It could be a celebration of the built world or a warning of planned future green field mass developments.
I hope the drawing maybe read by the passengers flying to or from Norwich International Airport like a plan for an enormous extension of a tiny house onto another enormous house. Juxtaposing the simplistic cartoon graphic of ‘Estate’ with the Palladian grandeur of Walpole’s original.
‘Estate’ is a conversation between the two architectural styles. One that has taken a couple of hours to complete and one that has taken many generations. Richard Woods
Richard Woods Estate | Houghton Hall | Sunday 13th October 2019.