The Cosmic House ★★★★ Jencks Foundation | April - December, 2021


The Cosmic House, designed by Charles Jencks with architect Terry Farrell, is nothing if not quirky; it almost redefines the meaning of the word! They seem to have been enjoying themselves with this wonderfully self-indulgent escape into post-modernism. Spread over four crowded floors, it is an eye-boggling array of interior design and furniture connected only by an extremely steep spiral staircase. (It should be noted that the house is not really disability friendly.) Designed as the antithesis of modernism and with more than a nod to the cosmos, it is unlike any other building we have come across. Much of the finish is simply painted MDF with wood used sparingly for special effect. The main living space is divided into four rooms named after the seasons. During the tour of the house we were allowed to just wander around, but we came across staff members working at their desks who would add fascinating nuggets of information. We were constantly amazed by this jaw-dropping piece of whimsical theatricality. It could be considered camp and over the top and it may not be to everyone's taste, but it is certainly spectacular whilst also being cosy! We are incredibly lucky that this masterpiece of the unusual is now being opened to the public. It is a stunning experience which will live in the memory for a very long time. Could we live here? Maybe not. Is The Cosmic House worth visiting? Most definitely. Jencks famously said, “If you can't stand the kitsch, get out of the kitchen.”

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Image: The Architectural Library © Jencks Foundation 2021.

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