Handsmooth House
South Oxfordshire

Client: Private client

  • Town planning

The project offered a unique opportunity to replace an existing undistinguished building complex with an outstanding contemporary country house designed by a world-leading architect. 

Set within the heart of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding National Beauty the project followed a very precise planning strategy to overcome significant objection and concerns raised by planning officers.  This led to unanimous support at South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning committee and avoided a potentially time consuming and costly appeal.  

American architect Richard Meier’s carefully considered design was developed in response to a thorough analysis of the site in partnership with award winning landscape designer Tom Stuart-Smith. The result, Meier’s first building in the UK, is a development that is in harmony with its surroundings which, fittingly won a RIBA South Award in 2017.  

Clean lines and fine detailing, and the subtle interplay between solids and voids, ensures Meier’s design is light and graceful and in balance with its landscape. Both Handsmooth House and its associated guesthouse embrace the principles of sustainable development. Overall a remarkable house.