Living Architecture: A Secular Retreat, Chivelstone, Devon

Atelier Zumthor
Residential, New Build, UK excluding London
John Rich

One of eight new build houses by prestigious architects for holiday rental.
Alain de Botton’s aim was to introduce modern architecture to the public by commissioning a set of buildings that can be rented as holiday homes, so that people can appreciate houses designed by excellent architectural practices.
This project was conceived as a place that a group of like-minded people could visit to relax and perhaps work together. So as well as the four bedrooms, a studio is included. The structures are built up of a series of massive rammed concrete walls that support the overlapping roof plates which are of reinforced concrete. The architect wants both the top and bottom surfaces of the roof plates to be of concrete and so there will be two layers with insulation between. To avoid cold bridging the top layer will cantilever past the glazing line, which is set in from the plate perimeters. The soffit of the slabs is to be curved. The design of these structures is an ongoing iterative process, in which the architect makes physical models and in which we bounce ideas for how best to achieve a good solution between us. It will also be necessary to involve the local builders who will be making samples and prototypes of the critical elements.