Despite being a far cry from a grand mansion or a stately home, the futuristic single-storey three-bedroom Fayland House near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, has beaten off competition from around the world to be crowned the best new home by The Architectural Review
Described by the judges as having a 'rigid, rhythmic façade' and a 'challenging' design, the 'asymmetrical' property was completed in 2013
It is owned by multi-millionaire property developer Mike Spink and his wife Maria, who paid £6.7million for the prime 50-acre plot in the Chilterns in 2008 before knocking down the existing house on the site.
The site was previously occupied by an early 20th-century house – said to be of no 'architectural value' – which was made up of a series of eight buildings, including stables, a gym, a greenhouse and an outdoor swimming pool.
The Spinks then brought in leading architect David Chipperfield to design a three-bedroom home with a thoroughly modern twist.
Like the best country piles, the house - called Faylands - is nestled among rolling hills and surrounded by a wildflower meadow with its own herd of cows.
But that's where the similarities end.
Instead of cosy rooms with roaring fires, a farmhouse kitchen with an Aga or a traditional brick exterior, the house is simple and modern to the verge of being empty.
A total of 11 concrete columns hold up the front of the property making it look more like an industrial unit than a home, while the flat roof and oblong-shape make it resemble more of a bunker than a sprawling estate.
However the judges of The Architectural Review House Awards 2015 - a competition to find the world's best house built in the last five years – heaped praise on it.
Some of the biggest names in modern architecture described it as 'a radical take on the English country house', 'subversive and as having a 'beautiful enfilade' - where a suite of rooms with doorways are in line with each other.
HOME'S MULTI-MILLIONAIRE OWNER: HOW FAYLANDS IS WORK OF 'HIGHLY REGARDED' PROPERTY DEVELOPER
Property developer Mr Spink spent £42million developing Park Place (pictured) near Henley-on-Thames before selling it for £140million
Faylands House is owned by multi-millionaire property developer Mike Spink and his Finnish investment banker wife Maria.
Mr Spink is an Oxfordshire-based property tycoon who once spent £42million developing a country estate called Park Place near Henley-on-Thames before selling it to Russian billionaire Andrey Borodin for £140million.
The sale of the Grade II-listed building - which backed onto the Thames and included 200 acres of parkland, listed monuments, houses, cottages, stables and a boat house - made it the most expensive home in Britain, knocking One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, London, off the top spot.
Mr Spink, who tends to keep a low-profile, is ‘highly-regarded’ for his discreet attitude, qualified as a chartered surveyor before becoming a developer.
Among his more than 100 projects is a dramatic overhaul of a £2million Georgian townhouse in London’s South Kensington in the 1990s, the development of five Belgravia flats into one large mansion in 2006 and the refurbishment of a five-storey £85million property in Kensington for Ukrainian businesswoman Elena Franchuk in 2008.
He also went on to combine two houses into one in South Kensington, doubling the value of the property, and built an apartment in Knightsbridge overlooking Hyde Park.
Christine Murray, editor of The Architectural Review, said: 'The judges came together to choose from a huge selection of houses from around the world the one they feel is the best from the last five years.
'The judges set themselves a difficult task: they wanted to find a house that was not just well-designed, but subversive in some way.
'They found in Chipperfield's Fayland House a plan that subverted the expectations set up by its rigid, rhythmic façade.
'The uncomfortable girth of the columns and the way they mediated the landscape was also mentioned.
'There is accomplished design and perfect detailing here, but also something challenging, uneasy.
'They also found its restrained opulence interesting, but I think the real enthusiasm was in the courtyards embedded in its asymmetrical plan and that beautiful enfilade.'
It is owned by multi-millionaire property developer Mike Spink and his wife Maria, who paid £6.7million for the prime 50-acre plot in the Chilterns in 2008 before knocking down the existing house on the site
Although looking more like an industrial wartime bunker than a family house, the property has been crowned the best new home in the world
Fellow judge Adam Caruso, a high profile architect, said: 'To make a luxury home that isn't pompous or a projection of the vanity of its inhabitants is a really difficult thing.
'Fayland House places a very large house in a special landscape without disappearing. The domestic outdoor spaces, which have always been an issue in English country houses, are in courtyards, which is an innovation.'
Sofia von Ellrichshausen, from Pezo von Ellrichshausen architects, added: 'Fayland House does push what a house is. It takes normal elements and manipulates them.
'That colonnade in the front and the way it modulates the scale on the landscape is very interesting.
'It also seems to be very rigid from the outside, but the plan is a lot less obvious, offering differing levels of privacy, and arranged around courtyards.'