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John Pawson's Living Architecture home opens

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Ty Bywyd is the first of Alain de Botton’s Living Architecture holiday homes to be built in Wales

PLAN • ELEVATIONS • CLIENT’S VIEW • ARCHITECT’S VIEW • PROJECT DATA

The 260m2 house which has been conceived as a ‘modern-day retreat’ sits on the lower slopes of a small Welsh valley.

According to a statement, the three-bedroom holiday home has been influenced by ‘Japanese design and the architecture of the Benedictine monks’.

It features a contemplation centre buried into the hillside, an outdoor contemplation zone, a living area, and common areas which allow for ‘privacy, sociability, and communion’.

The building’s three bedrooms each have different themes; a library bedroom is lined with works of literature, a music bedroom features a music system with a curated selection of calming music, and a bathing bedroom which includes a ’room-based bathing platform’.

Pawson’s design has been constructed from more than 80,000 handmade Danish bricks in a mix of light and dark colours. It also features pale polished concrete floors and Douglas fir timber ceilings, doors and furniture.

This is the seventh holiday home commissioned by Living Architecture’s Alain de Botton to complete.

Client’s view

With Life House (Tˆy Bywyd), we were looking to reinvent the monastery for a secular modern age; based upon the concept of a retreat; to take us back to the earliest days of Buddhism in the East, and of Stoic philosophy in the West. In both cases, the busy city was held to provide certain opportunities while at the same time, cutting us off from others. Chiefly, the risk is that we will forget to make time for ourselves, and omit to understand our own minds – and our need for calm and perspective. 

Alain de Botton, creative director, Living Architecture 

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

Architect’s view

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. 

Plan

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

North West elevation

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

South East elevation

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

South West elevation

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

North East elevation

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

Tˆy Bywyd – Life House by John Pawson

Project data

Location Llanbister, Wales
Type of project holiday home
Architect John Pawson
Client Living Architecture
Area 260m2

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The Long House, Norfolk by Michael Hopkins

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The Shingle House, Kent by Nord Architecture

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A Room for London by David Kohn Architects with Fiona Banner

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A House for Essex by FAT with Grayson Perry

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