Life House, designed by the London architect John Pawson, completes the seventh property of Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture series: a retreat in the Welsh valley with dark skin and a pale interior.
Life House, is located on the lower slopes of a valley near Llandrindod Wells.
The British architect took cues from both Japanese houses and Benedictine monasteries with his design for Life House, a 260-square-metre property intended to “immerse the visitor in a zone of extreme calm”.
Its features include a dark, peaceful chamber buried into the hillside, a contemplation space facing the Welsh mountains, and a room dedicated to bathing.
In life house seeks to create for create a modern, secular retreat, where guests can experience the benefits of introspection, solitude and immersion in nature
Life house is designed to be as subtle as possible, vanishing in the background like a shadow. More than 80,000 hand-made bricks were used in total, and are complemented with other simple finishes that include polished concrete floors and ceilings. Douglas fir wood.
To create this sombre appearance, its exterior is predominately formed from just one material – a black Danish brick. The same material covers the walls inside the building, but the tone changes to a very pale gray.
The floor plan is organized around two corridors that together form an L. The kitchen / dining room and living room are located in the heart of the building. There are also three one-bedroom suites, all dedicated to different activities. The bathroom suite has a large bathtub, the music suite is equipped with a sound system and the library bedroom, filled with a large collection of literature.
All of these rooms have large windows, allowing guests to enjoy the landscape during all activities.
Photography: Gilbert McCarragher.