Mecanoo builds Glass Villa in the Lake in the English countryside

Mecanoo builds glass house partly submerged in a lake in the English countryside

Window walls surround all sides of Glass Villa in the Lake, a three-storey house built by Dutch studio Mecanoo in the Cotswolds.

Mecanoo designed the house to be as transparent as possible to maximise views of its scenic setting, over a lake near the town of Lechlade. The idea was to create the feeling of "living outside on water".

It even features a basement floor submerged beneath the water's surface.

Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom

"The guiding design principle was to create a house that combines transparency with sustainability, forging a strong relationship between the villa and the landscape," said the studio.

"It is designed from inside out, creating uninterrupted views to the surrounding nature, while providing shelter and intimacy."

Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom

To ensure there is a view of the nature from every corner of the house, the house's interior is largely open-plan.

Where partitions were required, they were designed to double as useful features, for instance, the large fireplace and storage cupboards on the ground floor.

Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Photograph is by Blue Sky Images

Thanks to the glazed exterior, living spaces and bedrooms on the upper levels all benefit from at least two large windows. They are linked by a central atrium, which leads up to a garden on the roof and the partially submerged basement floor.

This sunken level, located just below the water line, contains a jacuzzi, a games room and a home cinema.

Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom

"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," said Mecanoo.

A pared-back material palette was chosen for the interior, so as not to detract from the views. It includes pale marble, dark wooden flooring, and simple metal handrails and balustrades.

Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom

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 landscape.

The bridge runs directly to the main road, via a plot of tall trees and plants that provides both a noise barrier and privacy for the occupants.

Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom

Glass Villa in the Lake is designed to function sustainably. It has a low energy consumption, and makes use of a variety of green technologies such as a thermal heat pump, solar panels, heat recovery systems and triple-glazed glass.

Meanwhile, the atrium helps to reduce the house's dependency on artificial lighting, as it floods the interiors with an abundance of daylight, right through to the sunken basement.

Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom

Mecanoo was founded by architect Francine Houben. Based in Delft, the studio's previous work in the UK includes Birmingham Library.

Recent projects include the "world's largest performing arts centre under one roof" in Taiwan.

Photography is by María Barricart unless stated.

More images

Plan of Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Plan
Section of Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Section
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom
Photograph is by Blue Sky Images
Glass Villa in the lake by Mecanoo in Lechlade, United Kingdom