Clean and minimal, the Serralves House brings simplicity to the forefront. A sleek concrete cube forms the home’s exterior. Like a cement fortress, there are only two entrances to the inside — through the garage and the garden. Openings have been left to a minimum, giving the structure a monolithic presence. The interior is divided into two level with the main living area on the ground floor and the bedrooms above. It follows the same restricted palette with bare, white walls and hardwood floors. Unlike the front, the rear is fitted with large openings allowing in natural light and views of the backyard.
Built on a hillside in Greece’s Panorama village, the Olive and Stone Residence uses a series of verandas to take advantage of the surrounding landscape. The concrete and stone structure is located in an olive grove. Varying widths and depths of the home create openings in the exterior. These gaps are filled in with multiple terraces, offering panoramic views of the mountains to the north and Corinthian Bay to the south. Additional cantilever decks provide shelter from the sun and wind while looking out onto the sea.
Brazilian landscapes and modern architecture work in unison to create the Jardins House. Comprised of two stories, the upper level is organized in a U-shape around a central courtyard. A rear wing is comprised of four suites while the main living area cantilevers over the ground below. Encased in sliding glass doors, the garden’s lush greenery and overflowing swimming pool are visible to every room, a vibrant contrast to the exposed concrete interior. The communal spaces are also fitted with hinged glass panels. Topped with a metal pergola, the area transforms into an outdoor terrace with views of the surrounding treetops.
Situated in the woods of Puget Sound, the Scavenger Studio is a minimalist hideaway. The simple form is clad in a mix of charred plywood and painted HardiePanel, and sits on a six-footed foundation with large overhangs for protection from the elements. The kitchen and living area occupy the bottom of the double-height interior, while a steel staircase gives access to a window-lined sleeping loft. True to its name, it was built using as many scavenged materials as possible, including everything from plants to the kitchen cabinets, the latter saved from a house the contractor was demolishing.
Using a material palette of raw concrete, steel, and glass, the JJO House aims to immerse occupants in the forest of Brazil. The residence sits on a steep slope. At the top of the hill are a garage and workshop. A walkway leads to the main house. Once inside, the main living area enveloped in glass showcases the surrounding treetops. Below, bedrooms sit on the ground level where floor-to-ceiling glazing affords views of the forest floor. The crowning feature of the home is the rooftop terrace. Sitting in the canopy, the open-air offers a direct connection to the surrounding landscape.
Wedged between the jungle and the sea, the Ocean Eye House adopts a modular design to take advantage of the Costa Rican landscape. The structure is comprised of a series of terraces. Fitted with folding wood doors, rooms can be closed off for privacy or opened up to the views of both the Pacific Oceans and the tropical forest. These openings were intentionally placed to increase airflow for a natural cooling system. The upper level creates a series of covered patios on the ground floor. Comprised of the main living spaces, this level extends directly out to a massive swimming pool overlooking the below.
Not a single bolder was harmed during the construction of the Truckee Creek House. Located on a rocky plot in California, the home weaves its way around the natural landscape of the site. The exterior is clad in a mixture of concrete and steel, a palette that compliments the surrounding rocks and evergreen forest. Similar materials are found throughout the interior where large panels of glazing highlight the existing boulders like fine art. Rock gardens and pebble terraces add to the native scenery while completing the zen-like atmosphere.
Ascending up 13 floors, the One-Room House is designed as a continuous spiral. The dwelling is housed in a narrow metal shell. Although privacy is minimal, the interior is free of partitions. Rather than separate rooms, the open space is divided by levels. The platforms are made from corrugated-metal and are supported by a mixture of roof beams and steel pipes. White paint creates a uniform palette throughout. A series of wooden steps add a subtle warmth while also joining each tier, ultimately ending at a rooftop terrace.
Extending up from a converted factory building in London, the Union Wharf Rooftop Dwelling is the re-imagination of an old conservatory. The transformation of the upper level was inspired by the passing canal boats, creating a palette of timber and steel. An oak and ash-lined interior is washed in natural light by a glazed facade, which also slides open to a terrace overlooking the Regents Canal. The ground level is influenced by the building’s industrial heritage. The original concrete soffit was left exposed, mirrored by a polished concrete flooring. While the living space has an open concept, textured sliding glass partitions separate the space from an adjacent playroom. Wood cabinets add warmth to the kitchen and complete the interior’s minimalist aesthetic.
Built in 1963, the residence was designed by John Lautner. It appears to emerge from the sandstone hillside like a mid-century modern cave, a signature of Lautner’s taught to him by his mentor Frank Lloyd Wright. From the inside out, the architect had a hand in every inch of the home. He even designed the furniture, lighting, and rugs, which we’re sure really tied the room together. Having been the home of Jackie Treehorn in The Big Lebowsk, the dwelling is fit for a porn magnate and loanshark with drinking glass skylights in the living room, floor-to-ceiling glazing, and a swimming pool overlooking the Los Angeles skyline.