The English Cotswolds are well-known around the world for being a place of picturesque natural beauty, and now this tourist-favorite is about to become home to stunning architectural beauty as well, with the development of Lower Mill Estate, a collection of modern eco-homes. Lower Mill Estate in Gloucestershire, England is a development of luxury waterside eco-homes featuring Britain’s biggest collection of architect-designed modern homes. Custom designs by over 22 architects, including Richard Reid, Will Alsop and Sarah Featherstone, 48 houses combine with a beautiful natural setting to create a unique living experience that is connected to nature.

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The project turned a barren landscape of deserted gravel pits into a 450-acre, seven lake nature reserve offering habitat to rare species such as kingfishers, otters and beavers. Residents enjoy the reserve with outdoor activities like walking, cycling and fishing. An eco-spa, with Britain’s first natural swimming pool cleaned by nothing but plants, provides indulging green leisure activities, as do an organic farm and locally-sourced farm shop, and green space allotments that are serviced by staff when residents are away.

Lower Mill Estate set new standards by being Britain’s first development to introduce ‘compulsory’ green initiatives, such as requiring each house to be equipped with a Planet Switch, preventing non-essential appliances from being left in energy-hungry standby mode.

One downside is that the estate is intended to provide second homes, watering down the sustainability and community aspects. However, it’s still an intriguing concept that offers a great vision for well-designed primary homes.

+ Lower Mill Estate