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Nithurst Farm: An Exploration of A New House by Architect Adam Richards, Inspired by 'Stalker'

Nestled in the South Downs National Park is an extraordinary new creation by architect Adam Richards, built for his family and drawing on sources as varied as Vanbrugh, Roman ruins and Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky.

Nithurst Farm has already won several prizes, including RIBA South East Award 2019, RIBA South East Building of the Year Award 2019 and RIBA National Award 2019. The house is a rare contemporary example of a British building informed and shaped by abstract ideas.

Architect Adam Richards will give his first talk about Nithurst at Pushkin House, and discuss the influence of Tarkovsky and Stalker on the building, also the subject of our present exhibition.

Nithurst is an extraordinary combination of the ancient and the new, the abstract and the concrete. The rooms converge around a central room, modelled on a Great Hall. The ‘Solar’ or sitting room, as well as the master bedrooms, have large windows that appear to bring the rolling green surroundings into the house itself in a way that is both soothing and at times unsettling, like the film itself.

When conceiving the house, built on the footprint of a former farm, Adam Richards was inspired by the secret room from Stalker, where, if you risk life and limb to get there, your deepest wishes are granted. Thus Richards gently angled lines and staircases in order to emphasise perspective to lead one on a journey through the house, punctuated by dramatically placed windows and informed by changing textures, views and lines.

Richards has achieved a feeling of infinity and echoing horizons, thanks to the subtle and imaginative interaction with the surroundings and the interplay of different materials and textures.

The RIBA judges wrote of their visit to Nithurst:

‘This is a project above all to do with memory, that you are never sure whether you are within, or looking at, a glorious rebuilt, ruined folly, or a concrete villa that overtime acquired an overcoat of rural respectability. It is this intriguing, but enjoyable dichotomy, that successfully challenged our perceptions of both modern and vernacular architecture.’

Nithurst was featured in World of Interiors this October.