The holiday homes of the future

It's a home - but not as we know it
Suffolk's Balancing Barn
Suffolk's startling Balancing Barn will sleep eight visitors
Pioneering new homes designed by world-class architects are being made available to rent under an innovative scheme that promises to change the way guests think about living space.

The first of five houses under the Living Architecture project will be available to hire as holiday homes from October and will include the Balancing Barn, by Dutch firm MVRDV Architects, in Thorington, Suffolk, and the black-tarred Shingle House, with an ultra-stylish concrete interior, by Scottish practice Nord Architecture, set on the shingle beach at Dungeness, Kent.

The barn is a stunning, cantilevered structure intended, as with all the Living Architecture properties, to challenge visitors’ perceptions of living space and the local community’s idea of what “a house” should be like.

Creative director of the project, the broadcaster, writer and philosopher Alain de Botton, says he conceived the Living Architecture scheme while writing his book, the Architecture of Happiness, about how our environment shapes our sense of well-being.

“This is dedicated to the promotion of world-class architecture,” he says. “But we hope visitors will also have an exceptional holiday. We are making available a standard of house unusual in the rental market, with the best contemporary materials and technologies. Our houses are all in fascinating locations and are meticulously designed for comfort and aesthetic delight.”

The properties can be rented at rates from £20 per person per night.

To book, visit Alain de Botton will talk about Living Architecture at the V&A Museum on Friday September 17, 2010; (tickets £8), see events at for booking details.

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