Peter Zumthor spent a decade working on his first permanent UK building – a countryside villa in Devon which pays homage to the work of Andrea Palladio.
Secular Retreat was among the first UK holiday homes commissioned by Living Architecture – a holiday rental company created by philosopher Alain de Botton – but it has only just been completed. And it’s already sold out of its 2019 dates.
The five-bedroom hilltop structure replaces a dilapidated 1940s timber house and is built using hand-rammed concrete. Its enormous windows frame far-reaching views of the Devon countryside and the property’s expansive gardens, which are planted with 5,000 species of plants, trees and shrubs – a nod to Palladio’s grand country houses.
The villa’s exterior is marked by horizontal stripes, created by the ramming technique, while interiors have bespoke limestone floors and concrete walls. Wooden surfaces soften the concrete, alongside brightly coloured furniture designed by Zumthor.