HENBURY ROTUNDA, CHESHIRE
This new house for Sebastian de Ferranti is built on the site of a previous house, destroyed in the 1950s, part of which dated from the 17th Century. It stands at the centre of a 200 year old landscaped park with artificial lakes, gardens and woodland. The cellars of the original house survive under the new building.
The design originated as a painted capriccio, of an imaginary building, by Felix Kelly. It is loosely based on the Villa Rotonda,Andrea Palladio's archetypal villa of the 1570s near Vincenza in Northern Italy, but adapted for the climate and traditions of the English country house. The internal plan, the proportions and the details, although drawn from Italian and English 18th Century models, are skilfully adapted to contemporary patterns of use.
The house is constructed of brick and concrete, faced in a warm-toned limestone from NE France, but with cornices and decorative features in reconstituted stone cast from models supplied by the carver, Dick Reid. The roofs are covered in split stone "slates", traditional in the NW of England, and the dome in lead with a lantern and weather vane of gun-metal and gilded copper.
Interiors are finished in painted wood and plaster. The main living rooms are on the first (or upper ground) floor. They are 5.4m high with elaborate cornices and carved doorcases, grouped around a great hall, with a floor of polished English limestones and Purbeck Marble,that rises 15m to the inside of the dome. The gallery overlooking the hall serves six bedrooms with bathrooms and dressing rooms. The fabrics and furnishing of the interiors were co-ordinated by David Mlinaric.
The main contractors were Tarmac Construction Ltd. of Bromborough. The building was completed in 21 months.