November 2, 2021
Glasshouse by the Lake
An incredible house is available to rent at The Lakes by Yoo in the heart of the Cotswolds, with a unique glass exterior. The guiding design principle was to create a house that combines transparency with sustainability, forging a strong relationship between the villa and the landscape. The harmony between landscape and interior, architecture and nature, was a key design determinant, particularly regarding sight lines, materials, colours, and lighting.
Designed from inside out, the house has uninterrupted 360° views of its rural surroundings, giving you the sense that you’re living at one with nature and intimately involved with the changing seasons.
To create the feeling of ‘living outside on water’ that the architects were trying to achieve, the house sits on a platform, which hovers over water at the edge of the lake. To enter the house you cross a bridge, which has been positioned diagonally to the access road, to ensure the house is effectively hidden from view and to avoid cutting down mature plants and trees. Besides providing a physical barrier, the trees and plants have a muffling effect, absorbing any lights or sounds from the road and increasing the sensation of being cocooned in nature. It’s a place of luxurious refuge and sublime relaxation.
A wooden deck encircles the home, providing generous outdoor living space – a perfect place to laze on a lounger and watch the swans glide by. And to increase the connection with the surrounding environment, the basement floor is submerged beneath the surface of the water. Aquatic plants along the shoreline alternate with stepping stones, which lead you among the trees to different parts of the garden. On the water side, the villa has far-reaching views, while from the vast roof terrace you can soak up the scenery floating lilypad-like over the lake.
The home is designed to orbit around an open staircase and glass-roofed central atrium, which drenches the living space with natural light. As the architects explained: ‘The staircase sews all the rooms together into one interior space. The central atrium brings abundant daylight into the sunken basement and connects the interior to the roof terrace.’
This full-height void in the heart of the house not only connects all levels but creates another series of diagonal and vertical sight lines. And despite the villa’s size, 600 square metres, the rooms flow into each other naturally, mirroring their fluid surroundings.
Every room in the house has been designed to connect the interior with nature through high ceilings – between 2.8 and 3.5 metres high – and glass walls, while the open- plan living areas with minimal walls are also intended to bring that scenery indoors. Where partitions were required, they were designed to double as useful features, such as the large fireplace and storage cupboards on the ground floor. They also divide the house into different places, creating more intimate and private areas within the large transparent volume. In order not to detract from the surroundings, the interior design makes use of earthy, light and transparent materials; glass, dark wood, dark metal and bright white walls, ceilings and doors. The colour of the flooring extends outside the house, cladding the edges of the deck that surrounds the building, as well as the bridge that connects it with the land.
While the views of the outside take some beating, inside the Glass Villa is quietly impressive. There’s a Varenna kitchen complete with tandoori oven, pizza oven and wine fridge. Sofas are by Poliform, dining chairs by Cassina and lighting courtesy of Bocci, Tom Dixon, Davide Groppi and Phillipe Starck.
In the basement there’s a sauna, hot tub, full-size snooker table, bar and nine-seater cinema. Despite being 3.5 metres under water, light streams in from high above during the day, while at night it becomes a stylish space for entertainment and entertaining.
Head up the stairs – carved from a single 500-year-old tree from Slovenia – and you’ll find four en-suite bedrooms with marble en-suite bathrooms. Head on a little higher and you emerge onto the roof terrace. At 186 square metres it occupies a third of the house’s inside space – and provides a bird’s eye view across the garden and three different lakes. Besides seating areas for relaxing and dining, there’s a large wood-fired pizza oven.
Despite the enormous expanses of glass in place of walls – a remarkable 7 centimetres thick and weighing thousands of kilograms – energy consumption of the house is very low.
The Glass Villa uses a variety of green technologies including an air thermal heat pump, solar panels, heat recovery systems and triple-glazed glass.
The villa is situated in The Lakes by Yoo estate, a holiday and weekend home destination within the Cotswold Water Park, an ideal location for Londoners wanting to escape the city for the weekend, or longer – it’s only a couple of hours by car. The Lakes’ team prides itself on offering absolute privacy and security, plus concierge services for anything from a gourmet Christmas feast and picnic hamper to a mixologist and flowers.
With a green oasis of trees and plants that hide the house from view. Water plants along the water line alternate with stepping stones that lead to other parts of the garden. On the water side, the villa has an optimal view over the lake. Terraces on two different levels connect the villa to both the land and the water, anchoring the house in nature and giving it a welcoming presence. Glass corner windows in the living room, kitchen and other rooms, make the residents feel like they live on the water.
There’s surely not another house, in the UK at least, which allows you to appreciate Mother Nature – in all her many-hued and reflected glory.
W: Glass House by The Lake
Photo credit: Mariashot.photo