A closer shot of the shark in the roof.
The Shark House | Magnus Hanson-Heine

UK Shark House Owner Disappointed By Protected Status

To own a home that's also a piece of local art is a unique experience, especially when that art was first installed as a means of defying local rulings trying to control what art people could and couldn't see.

That's why, when a home featuring a sculpture jutting from its roof was given protected status by city council, the owner believed it to not be the right move, and in fact, thinks it's "absurd".

There's a house in Oxford, England with a rather unusual feature.

A photo of the house with the shark sculpture jutting through the roof.
The Shark House | Magnus Hanson-Heine

A 25-foot tall fiberglass shark can be seen crashing head-first through the roof of the home, and has been fixed in that position for years now.

The house belongs to Magnus Hanson-Heine, and the sculpture was installed by his father, Bill Heine, in 1986 as an anti-war protest piece.

This past week, the house was designated as a heritage sight, making it a protected landmark.

A man signing a paper.
Unsplash | Cytonn Photography

Hanson-Heine is not happy about this.

By declaring the sculpture as 'protected', he says that Oxford City Council is ignoring the other message present in the work's history. Heine had originally installed the shark explicitly without the approval of local officials as he didn't believe they should have any say in what art people were allowed to see.

Not to mention that the council spent years trying to remove the shark, thus making this gesture feel a little underhanded.

Bill Heine and his friend after the shark was originally installed in 1986.
The Shark House | Magnus Hanson-Heine

"Using the planning apparatus to preserve a historical symbol of planning law defiance is absurd on the face of it,” Hanson-Heine told The Associated Press.

Bill Heine got the idea for the sculpture when he heard American warplanes flying over his house one night in 1986, later learning that those planes were on their way to bomb Tripoli, a retaliation against Libya for sponsoring terrorist attacks against U.S. troops. This makes the sculpture not only anti-war, but anti-nuke specifically.

Today, the shark house is a local landmark.

A closer shot of the shark in the roof.
The Shark House | Magnus Hanson-Heine

It has its own website that details the history and features a gallery of fun photos people have taken with the shark house. It's also available for booking, allowing up to 12 guests.

Though the city council's ruling might have undermined the significance of the sculpture, there's no denying that people still love it dearly.

h/t: The Associated Press