Some of the most interesting architects today are proving that this discipline can be said to be avant-garde-literally.
Here are eight examples of houses that overcome difficult environments and provide extraordinary experiences for owners and bystanders:
Nova Scotia, Canada
Greg Richardson / MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects
The Cliff House on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia has a creative and interesting intervention in the landscape.
The galvanized steel superstructure provides strong support and is fixed on the cliff, while the wooden elements bring comfort inside and outside.
The cube is not divided into multiple levels, so the spacious living space occupies the entire area. Only a small part of it turns into a sleeping area.
Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
Florian Bush Architects
The architect behind this extraordinary holiday house in Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island, created an L-shaped structure that connects the house to the hills.
The two cubes are stacked on top of each other, giving a dynamic impression that the entire structure may slide down the slope. The entrance and private space of the house are located in the lower cube, while the internal staircase leads to the living area and kitchen on the upper floor
The sturdy structure is made of reinforced concrete, leaving it inside the house to form a visually clear juxtaposition with large windows and glass openings.
House on the cliff
Calpe, Alicante, Spain
Diego Opazo / Fran Silvestre
Geometric shapes, linear purity are the characteristics of the “House on a Cliff” project in Alicante, Spain.
The house was buried on a very steep slope. This unusual and highly difficult land inspired imaginative three-dimensional shapes and triggered an amazing visual dialogue with the surrounding environment.
The house sits among the rocks and literally hangs on the outline of the hill. It is made of concrete and is isolated from the outside, but it is covered with white lime whitewashed gray. The architect chose this whitewash to ensure its flexibility and smoothness.
The front of the all-glass window offers wonderful views of the water, and the infinity pool and spacious terrace on the ground seem to extend the house to the sea.
Ciyun Mountain Tree House
Chen Hao / Bengo Studio
The Qiyun Mountain Tree House is not a house built on a tree, but an 11-meter-high tree located in Red Berlin, Anhui Province in eastern China.
The narrow and curved entrance hall echoes the curve of the nearby road. Inside, the elements of this complex shape are located at different heights and face different directions.
The central spiral staircase leads to a simple room with wall-mounted windows that can be used as a frame to enjoy the view. The living area and bedroom are intentionally smaller because the architect wanted to create an observation point rather than a spacious family home.
For aesthetic and practical reasons, natural materials are used to decorate buildings, including red cedar.
Luz (Algarve, Portugal)
Fernando Guara / Mario Martins
The fantastic landscape of the Algarve region of Portugal makes it suitable for quirky architecture.
Villa Escarpa is a white geometric giant, balanced on a steep cliff, overlooking the village of Praia da Luz. Due to strict regulations regarding construction on this coastline, the structure cannot exceed the floor space occupied by previous houses. But architect Mario Martins discovered a best way to use relatively small plots.
The idea is to create the effect of a house floating above the landscape. Includes roof terrace, which helps increase brightness. The structure is not only attractive, but also durable-this is crucial considering the prevailing winds in the area.
Slice folding room
Los Angeles, California, United States
Eric Stoudemire / City Operations
The slicing and folding house in Los Angeles resembles carefully folded origami. The building plays an amazing role between sharp corner lines and openings of various sizes, thus flooding each room with natural light.
The exterior of the house is composed of different shapes and volumes, the largest of which is the roof terrace with a magnificent panoramic view of the San Gabriel Mountains, inspired by the modernist villa of Le Corbusier.
Most of the house is sunk into the terrain, and it must be dug deep to fix the huge structure on the steep slope.
Eastern Quebec, Canada
Adrien Williams / naturehumaine
The huge front window of this house is located on a hilltop in Quebec, Canada, and offers panoramic views of the surrounding forest area. The larger of the two structures serves as a living area, while the smaller has two bedrooms.
The design of the house depends to a certain extent on the cantilevered roof, which includes a downward slope, which limits the amount of sunlight in the warm summer months.
The structure is located on a hill, the foundation is fixed on the ground, and the building is covered with burned wood to further integrate into the surrounding environment.
Casa Del Acantilado
Salobragna, Granada, Spain
Jesus Granada / Gil Bartolome
Casa Del Acantilado, or “Cliff House”, built on the coast of Granada, Spain, is a tribute to architect Antoni Gaudi. The challenging angle of inclination (approximately 42 degrees) seems to inspire rather than limit the creativity of the architectural firm Gilbartolomé behind the design.
The house is not only buried in the mountains, but also hidden under the peculiar roof. When viewed from above, its curved shape and textured surface resemble a dragon’s skin or ocean waves.
Casa Del Acantilado is spread over two floors-one floor is dedicated to the open space living area, while the other floor provides a more private space.