Project name: Sartfell Retreat | Location: Sartfell Mountain, Isle of Man | Completed: 2018 | Architect: Foster Lomas

‘Sartfell Retreat is one of those rare projects which appears to emerge out of the earth, providing a sense of permanence and protection for the clients to live with, and amongst the elements of the weather, wildlife and local ecology’ – Will Foster, Co-founder of Foster Lomas


To date, the project has won three RIBA Awards: RIBA North West Regional Award 2019, RIBA North West Sustainability Award 2019 and RIBA National Award 2019. That’s not to mention the numerous nominations and victories by other awarding bodies. Altogether, Sartfell Retreat has caused quite a stir in the world of architecture and it’s easy to see why.

The property is the result of a collaboration between the clients – a retired scientist and a retired teacher – and the architect Foster Lomas as well as the local charity Manx Wildlife Trust. The project forms part of a masterplan whose vision will see the addition of a Visitors’ Centre by Foster Lomas and will serve as an educational platform about biodiversity.

On-site features like a weather station show the design’s careful attention to the characteristics of the environment. Carbon-capturing hay base and native wildflower planting create the house’s biodiverse green roofs which complement the drystone walls and blend Sartfell Retreat with its environment.

Sartfell Retreat is more than an award-winning home, it’s a multi-faceted educational platform. Architecture that fulfils a purpose other than – and as well as – looking good will be remembered for much longer. Projects like Sartfell Retreat show the power of functional, stylish architecture.

Photography by Edmund Sumner.

For another project that's embedded in nature, take the tour of Eagle Rock Cliffs Hotel.