Living Architecture is a new social enterprise that adds a touch of glamour to the traditional British holiday. Instead of a cute cottage, cramped caravan or crumbling castle, Living Architecture provides bespoke, mod-con accommodation designed by the most distinguished architects and artists for as little as £20 per person, per night.
Though current locations are limited to the south of England, they have been selected for their remote beauty, and include The Balancing Barn in Suffolk and the intriguing Secular Retreat in Devon, which is designed by Peter Zumthor and scheduled for completion by the end of 2012.
A Room For London (above) was designed by David Kohn Architects and artist Fiona Banner. The one-bedroom boat, perched on top of the Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, is fully booked until the end of 2012, when it is hoped that it will continue its voyage over the rooftops of London. Visitors are encouraged to record their one-night experience in sound, word or picture, much as they would on an artist’s retreat.
Living Architecture was pioneered by the popular-culture philosopher Alain de Botton and is headed by Mark Robinson, who managed the Serpentine Gallery Pavilions for six years, and its success is no surprise. If the project grows and it maintains short-term lets at affordable prices, or as part of residency competitions, Living Architecture’s holiday homes will enter the public domain and help us to consider great architecture beyond the museum or airport, as also domestic, intimate and even part of our wellbeing.