The “green movement” is no longer just about waste, the preservation of natural resources, and the air we breathe. Today, we are increasingly interested in pollution that isn’t as obvious as the kind we smell, see, or hear. For nature to remain a source of well-being, it must be pure, and free from all traces of human involvement.
It’s with this view that the houses we show here have been designed. They are all well-designed, original, and exceptional, but they’re also discrete and isolated.
1. Edgeland House in Texas
"To live a happy life, out of sight" could be the motto of the Texas owners who built their home 6 ½ feet in the ground. From the outside, it looks like a dugout or a bunker, but with large windows that let in the light. Inside, you will find all the modern comforts, plus a small swimming pool in the backyard. See more here.
2. Bungalow under the pine trees in British Columbia, Canada
It was obviously some nature lovers who built this bungalow, which completely integrates the natural elements that surround it (pine trees, moss, and rock), so as not to disturb the beautiful site of this lake in Canada. To learn more about the development of this project and to see the inside of the bungalow, click here.
3. Houses on the roof of a mall in Hunan, China
These are real houses with actual yards that have flourished on the roof of this Hunan mall. It was probably the lack of space that forced architects to find creative solutions to satisfy their most sophisticated customers in this city of 4 million. If you’re interested in this project, find more about it here.
4. A cliff mansion in Utah
Watch the descriptive video of this amazing house built in 1986 by a couple who wanted to live in a unique place, protected from noise, pollution, and the dangers of the city. This mansion located in a cliff (in the rock itself!) is incredible: it has all the modern comforts (Wi-Fi, a generator, solar panels, etc.), as well as a garage and a large orchard. It’s only 90 minutes from national parks and other tourist attractions, and other similar homes are about a mile away.
6. Villa Vals in Switzerland
It is not the pasture in the foreground that interests us, but the house dug into the mountainside just behind it.
A local law prohibited erecting a tall building that would destroy the landscape there, so the architect proposed that the owners build their house underground, or more precisely in a cave. The result is quite beautiful, and you’ll see that the interior leaves nothing to be desired.
7. Cliff House in Coquimbo, Chile
The only thing you can see from the road are the house’s chimneys; the rest is on the cliff side, and built to blend into the mountains. There are two floors, one of which is completely underground. For more details, click here.
8. Lake chalet in Hordaland, Norway
Here’s another house that disappears in the landscape (the first photo barely even hints at the presence of a house)! As for the exterior, it’s quite modern, but it goes well with the surroundings. Check out the architects’ work here.
9. Desert oasis in California
This house follows the same concept as the previous ones, but is a bit too modern to really disappear into the landscape. With that being said, the colors are discrete and in the same palette as the surrounding area. The house looks like a heap of dead leaves or streaks of desert sand created by the wind, and yet it’s all made of concrete, steel, copper, and glass. For more details, go here.
10. The Mirrorcube Hotel in Lapland, Sweden
This incredible hotel, which blends so well into the landscape that it had to be covered with an infrared film so that birds will notice it and avoid crashing into it, is just waiting for your visit. For prices, details, and reservations, follow this link.
11. Penthouse in a rock in Beirut, Lebanon
What an amazing location and design! If James Bond had a house, this would be the one! At first, no one believed this project would be possible (a house dug into the rock, practically invisible and in the middle of nowhere), but eventually many investors were interested in this crazy, huge idea, thanks to the internet. A Lebanese real estate agency took care of it. For more details, go here.
Bonus: Cliff Retreat Project
Don’t let your imagination fool you. This is just an image created with Photoshop, by Alex Hogrefe of VisualizingArchitecture.com. He explains in 9 steps how he created this image, paying particular attention to the waves and the fog.
Photo credits: Alex Hogrefe