"One of the most beautiful houses I have seen in years"

In this week's comments update, readers can't agree whether Peter Zumthor's Secular Retreat is worthy of praise.

Haven or hell: reader opinion is divided over the Devon-based holiday home that Swiss architect Peter Zumthor designed for Living Architecture.

"This is one of the most beautiful houses I have seen in years," applauded Sorperdida.

Architect agrees: "I think this is a spectacular site and as always great work by Zumthor."

Not all commenters feel the same though, including Arc: "Zumthor is responsible for creating some of the most meaningful architectural works I've ever seen, but I just don't see anything exceptional. I am completely underwhelmed."

"Buildings like this remind me of the monarchs in history that were physically deformed due to intermarriage, to the extend of being unable to have children. This is architecture at a dead end," added a descriptive Fr.

One reader summarised their thoughts clearly:

What do you think of the holiday home? Join the discussion ›


Coal Drop Yards shopping centre at King's Cross by Thomas Heatherwick Studio

On point: two converted 19th-century coal warehouses form Coal Drops Yard, a new shopping centre in London by Thomas Heatherwick's studio, and readers can't agree on whether it's a success.

"It's a 'look at me, aren't I whacky' piece of design. Talk about gilding the lily and structural gymnastics just for the sake of the designer's ego," said a disgruntled Alfredhitchcock.

"A strange design that looks just as strange in real life," commented Davide.

Errik Wong disagrees: "I like it. I applaud his willingness to be brave enough to do this and break preconceptions about what can be done with old buildings."

"Best ever example of reinventing a 19th-century building," complimented Joseph Strawbridge.

This reader feels similarly:

Is the design a failure or success? Join the discussion ›


Come rain or shine: commenters agree that Ferrari's Monza SP1 and SP2 cars – which have been designed entirely open-topped and with the most powerful engine the company has ever built – have been badly thought through.

"This is a childish design with no thinking about the car, or safety. Only stupid people will buy it," believes an angry Mafioo ATO.

Jean Claude said sarcastically: "Rain and snow are just urban legends for Ferrari designers."

"Criticising a Ferrari for being impractical is like complaining that water is wet," responded Christopher Gon De Leeuw.

To this, Mies Teg added: "Apparently so are flies in people's mouths."

Some readers are more concerned about other design "flaws":

Is a roof-less car a sensible idea? Join the discussion ›


Work in progress: designers at this year's Orgatec furniture fair think that traditional offices are a thing of the past, but readers aren't convinced by their alternative designs for more flexible workspaces.

"This furniture is creating a generation of co-working hunchbacks," commented Martin Lew.

Majo Vargas Bianchi quizzed: "What kind of jobs do these people have that they don't need a desk nor an office chair? Writing this from my own desk."

"A workstation for doing no work, or maybe a place to check your phone," added Pink Tiger.

H.Miller wanted to know: "How many of those products were designed sitting on a sofa?"

This reader appreciated the comment:

Are flexible work spaces the way forward? Join the discussion ›