The Living Architecture organisation has been transforming the UK’s architectural and holiday rental landscape since 2010. Established by Alain de Botton, the aim was to change public perceptions of modern architecture by commissioning world-class architects such as FAT Architecture and MVRDV to design houses to be rented out over a period of days and nights. The concept looks to promote, educate and influence discussions on modern architecture and Living Architecture now have seven properties to rent around the UK. The latest property launched is Tŷ Bywyd – Life House which is opening its doors for its very first guests in July 2016.
Commissioning RIBA award-winning architect John Pawson to design the Tŷ Bywyd project (life house in Welsh), the new property sits on the lower slopes of a Welsh valley in Llanbister, near Llandrindod Wells. The 260sqm property was an entirely new type of project for the renowned architect whose previous work includes Calvin Klein’s first New York flagship store, the Cistercian Monastery of Nový Dvůr in the Czech Republic and the Sackler Crossing at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Sleeping six, the inspiration behind the new location is a retreat where serenity, contemplation and restoration are foremost and John Pawson had this to say on the design:
‘It has been a pleasure to work with the Living Architecture team on a totally new type of project for me. In this house I wanted to create a modern, secular retreat, where guests can experience the benefits of introspection, solitude and immersion in nature. The location is wonderfully remote and I wanted to create a sanctuary where people feel at home, but never insulated from the elemental character of the surrounding landscape.’
Immersing visitors in a zone of extreme calm and leaving them revived and re-invigorated no matter how long the break, the Tŷ Bywyd building unfolds before you in both a simple and luxurious way. Taking five years to complete, John Pawson worked closely with Living Architecture’s creative director Alain de Botton and the finished project has been deeply influenced by Japanese design and the architecture of Benedictine monks. Every aspect has been carefully crafted to promote calm and the property includes two contemplation areas to aid blocking out the outside world. The interior contemplation chamber is buried into the hillside and visitors are invited to lie in the black cavernous rooms to focus the mind on life’s true essentials. The exterior contemplation zone allows you to purify and train the mind much like the interior room but with the Welsh mountains as a backdrop.
Tŷ Bywyd’s three bedrooms each have a different relaxation theme with the library bedroom lined with some of the most therapeutic works of Eastern and Western literature and the music bedroom fitted with state-of-the-art music systems and a curated selection of transcendent, calming music. Last but not least is the bathing bedroom with a raised bath platform with views overlooking the Welsh valley whilst the generous common areas allow for either complete privacy or sociability and communion depending on guests’ requirements. The finishing touch to the property is its position at the nexus of a sequence of walks curated by artist Hamish Fulton to invigorate the body in order to further soothe the mind on return to Tŷ Bywyd.
Constructed from over 80,000 handmade Danish bricks, the light and dark color brick combinations along with pale polished concrete floors and Douglas fir ceilings, doors and furniture create an atmosphere of quiet reflection. Ideal for escaping the demands of busy modern life, Tŷ Bywyd is now open for holiday bookings from 11th July 2016; visit the Living Architecture website for more information on how to book.