Rooms with a view

PUBLISHED: 12:01 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 12:57 06 May 2010

The house still looks ultra-modern despite being built 45 years ago

The house still looks ultra-modern despite being built 45 years ago

A HOUSE which is a piece of living history but which also manages to look extremely modern is on the market for £2.5million The owner of the Harpenden house is Mrs Birgit Ahm, widow of the world-famous engineer Povl Ahm, who died aged 78 in 2005. The Grad

Bringing the outside in "" - extensive use of glass links the garden and the house

A HOUSE which is a piece of living history but which also manages to look extremely modern is on the market for £2.5million

The owner of the Harpenden house is Mrs Birgit Ahm, widow of the world-famous engineer Povl Ahm, who died aged 78 in 2005.

The Grade II-listed 1962 house was partly-designed by his Danish compatriot Jorn Utzon, the mastermind of the Sydney Opera House.

Mrs Ahm stressed that her husband Povl Ahm was the driving force behind the whole concept and lovingly guarded his project during the two years it took to build.

Povl Ahm worked for Ove Arup, the engineering firm, and had the tricky job of making the Sydney Opera House buildable in its initial stages. Before that he had helped Basil Spence with Coventry Cathedral.

It has now become too big for Mrs Ahm, aged 78, who also has a house in Denmark but wants to keep a flat in Britain.

Much as her two sons - Carsten and Peter - and her grandchildren like to visit her in the house she has set her heart on moving.

Mrs Ahm said: "We brought our family up here and both sons went to Aldwickbury School."

English Heritage calls it "a distinguished and beautifully-detailed modern house".

It has features that were well ahead of its time like hot-water underfloor heating.

Ahm, who ended up as chairman of the huge Ove Arup organisation, created a distinctly Danish home in Harpenden.

Visitors are drawn into the vast living room by way of a long, low porch leading into a spacious entrance hall.

Wide and shallow steps take you upstairs into the living room and then on to the dining area and kitchen. English Heritage commented on this "sense of progression", describing it as an important feature of the house. The extension of the tiled floor from the interior to the exterior, as well as the extensive glass giving views of the garden, helps to achieve the aim of "bringing the outside in".

The house with its large L-shaped garden - 0.8 secluded green acres - has four bedrooms, with a separate annexe containing a further two.

The house is for sale for £2.5 million through The Modern House on 08456 344068.

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