Few of us would think of building their home to look like a work of art, but on a hill overlooking a beautiful valley in South Devon Joe and Claire and their young children are going to do just that. Their new house will be a giant sculpture inspired by the local landscape, 70 metres long and featuring 34 enormous angled zinc shards jutting out in all directions. It will be astonishingly complicated to build, and equally as expensive, but Joe is young, wealthy and ambitious, as well as fearless. He intends to invest a large part of his self-made fortune into making the impossible possible, his stated aim to build "one of the greatest homes on the planet”.
But with huge ambition can come huge risk, and right from the start the problems are mind boggling. Major structural engineering changes are necessary to contend with high winds hitting the shards, and the eight hundred and thirty-five thousand pound budget virtually doubles before the first walls go up. A team of local builders then struggle through all weathers to build a vast intricate wooden frame, but the prefabricated timbers simply won’t fit together. As delays mount, making Joe’s dream a reality seems further away than ever. What should have been a masterpiece is in real danger of becoming a white elephant.
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