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Look Around You

Look Around You

19.09.18

Watching, observing and contemplation at Living Architecture houses

Look Around You

What does a holiday mean to you? New sights, the hustle and clamour of an unfamiliar city or the warmth of a sun-drenched beach? An exhilarating change of scene is often the required antidote to the daily grind. Yet for many of us, new distractions are not what’s needed to soothe mind and spirit. Instead, we seek out opportunities – and places – to relocate our sense of equilibrium.

Living Architecture houses are designed to be both comfortable and architecturally inspiring. Gathering around the fire at Long House, or contemplating the life of Julie Cope at A House for Essex, our guests will find much within to add to a memorable holiday. Yet we have also carefully selected the locations for each house so that the environs and landscape lend themselves to simple, restorative contemplation; watching the grazing horses in the meadow behind Long House, the crashing waves just metres away at Dune House, watching the weather roll across the wild Dungeness shore at Shingle House, gazing directly into the swaying treetops from the living room at Balancing Barn.

At John Pawson’s Life House, two spaces actively encourage guests to sit in quiet reflection. One can choose to sit outside and look out over the valley to the rolling Welsh hills or instead find a moment of peace in the indoor contemplation room. Here you can gaze upwards to the skies through a hole in the roof or study the quote from 17th century writer Blaise Pascal, “All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”

In Devon, our house on a hill receives the final touches from architect Peter Zumthor. Just as the (now closed) Room for London invited guests to watch the London skyline as a bird might, Secular Retreat’s elevated position and full height windows naturally draw one’s gaze outside. More than merely observing, one is actively watching and engaging with the shifting scene beyond. The very act of looking afar feels boldly invigorating. Senses are recharged and life’s trivial worries recede within the far-reaching landscape.

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