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Secular Retreat

Sleeps 10

In South Devon, between the resorts of Salcombe and Hallsands lies a landscape of rolling hills, wooded river valleys, patchwork fields and small villages of old stone houses. It is here that Living Architecture has asked one of the greatest architects in the world, Peter Zumthor, to create Secular Retreat. The house is due to open in 2018.


Secular Retreat accommodates up to ten guests in five bedrooms, each with ensuite bathroom.

Designed around the landscape of its hilltop setting, the house with it's rammed concrete walls, has a mass and scale characteristic of timeless ecclesiastical architecture. The layout comprises two bedroom wings, radiating from a large central living space, which is flooded with light from full height glazing on all sides.

  • Five double bedrooms are all located on the ground floor
  • One bedroom can be made up as a twin
  • All bedrooms have an en-suite bathroom, with WC and shower


Secular Retreat - Devon
Secular Retreat - Devon
Secular Retreat - Devon

South Devon is one of the most famous of English holiday regions. It offers ample opportunities to walk, sail, surf, windsurf, fish, ride and play golf.

In the holiday season, there are craft markets, open air theatres and choral concerts, while out to sea one can see porpoises, dolphins and whales. The area is rich in birdlife including cirl bunting, egrets, peregrines, sparrowhawks and buzzards.

Near the house are the lovely, sheltered beaches of Smalls Cove, Mill Bay and Sunny Cove. The unusually clear, almost tropical, water attracts divers to explore the seabed and the many shipwrecks of the area.

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About The Architecture

Peter Zumthor is frequently described as the greatest architect at work in the world today. He was awarded the internationally prestigious Pritzker Prize in 2009, and the RIBA Gold Medal in 2013.

Probably his most renowned buildings are the baths at Vals in Switzerland, the Bruder Chapel outside Cologne in Germany and the Kolumba Museum in Cologne itself. He is currently working on designs for new museums in Basel and Los Angeles, alongside many private commissions.

He is a master of craftsmanship, and an expert in the use of materials, which give his buildings an eternal quality. For Living Architecture, Zumthor is designing his first permanent project in the UK - a hilltop retreat, at which people will have the rare opportunity to stay and experience his architectural philosophy at first hand.

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