Is it boring to live in the UK?
Building a vacation home that many will enjoy is a difficult task. Building a life-improving holiday home with well-known architects, well, how could this challenge be paraphrased? Probably the words of Alain de Bottons fit it quite well: "It is agony and joy at the same time."
47-year-old Alain de Botton is the creative head of the British Living Architecture Foundation, which was launched in 2010 and has already built seven holiday homes in Great Britain with such "star architects" as John Pawson or David Kohn. The eighth, planned by Pritzker Prize winner Peter Zumthor, should have opened in December in the south-west of the country. In the meantime, however, those responsible assume an inauguration in 2018. As de Botton said: "It's a pleasure to work this way because these people are often creative geniuses. And torture because we have to remind these geniuses of terribly boring things like budgeting or storage space for our customers' t-shirts. "
The Swiss philosopher de Botton, who lives in London, is best known in Germany as the founder of the School of Life, a school of the good life. Now that the writer is also the builder, he wants to instruct the holidaymakers in good architectural taste. For de Botton this means above all: no cottages, no half-timbered houses, no nostalgic cuteness. In the holiday homes by Living Architecture in Kent, Suffolk or Wales, the following applies: They have open lines of sight, no nested floor plans. There are glass fronts that reach to the floor, no ivy-latticed lattice windows.
And where in other places the plaster of bygone centuries lays over the masonry, emphasis is placed on the clear recognizability of structure and materials. Whereby the philosopher can already understand a transfiguration of the past, which is also expressed in the building: "Of course we are afraid of tomorrow, because it may be that we will die tomorrow. The past, however, is certain: This is the time in that we either weren't born or didn't die. "
The houses should symbolize tolerance and openness - difficult in these times
Living Architecture is now supposed to break up sentimental living habits. As early as 2008, Alain de Botton subtitled the photograph of an openly arranged living room with wide lines in his architectural happiness guide: "A balanced building as a promise of a balanced life".
De Botton implemented this in 2010 with the Balancing Barn. The elongated building, designed by the Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, stands at the end of an avenue of cherry apples by a pond in a nature reserve in Suffolk. Viewed from the front, the crouched building actually looks as calm and simple as the annex to a courtyard. But anyone who tries to go around the "barn" will fail: only half of it is anchored in the ground. The other half sticks out into the air.
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