Peter Zumthor is a master of concrete. The famed architect has crafted many a stern building from the material, including his own Switzerland home. Now he’s turned his eye for austerity to another house, this time in the English countryside.
The Secular Retreat is a sturdy slab of a building constructed from stratified blocks of concrete, glimmering glass windows, and limestone floors. When the modern stunner completes in December, it will have taken Zumthor ten years, a testament to both his attention to detail and love for a hands-on process.
“I produce originals,” he told Dezeen “My work is always my work, it is not the work of my collaborators. I am not a trademark, I always produce an original.”
In the case of the Secular Retreat, Zumthor made sure every piece of concrete was up to spec. The house is built from thick blocks of hand rammed concrete, an ancient building technique that requires compacting layers of material inside temporary formwork and then removing them once the mixture has hardened. The result is blocks of shaded concrete with layers that look like knife lines on the icing of a piece of cake.
Deep-pocketed architecture lovers will be able to rent the Secular Retreat through Living Architecture starting soon.