July 15, 2012

Five Fantastic Contemporary Homes

by Jonathan Swain

Contemporary architecture has the ability to excite and amaze. Whether it’s the ‘uninhabitable’ country home designed by Howard Roark in Ayn The Fountainhead, or the clean lines of the zinc-clad MuSh Residence in Los Angeles, architects are constantly pushing the limits of their imaginations to create inspiring and inhabitable works of art. With countless examples of stellar design and property for sale, it’s difficult to choose favourites, but the five homes below have certainly managed to stand out from the crowd.

Hunsett Mill 
The victim of poor-quality extensions and renovations over the past 100 years, Hunsett Mill finally came into the hands of owners who saw the potential for something beautiful. Returning the building to its original size and adding a well-planned, unobtrusive addition, this 19th century mill house was transformed into a striking construction nestled on the banks of the River Ant in Norfolk Broads National Park in England. The dynamic 5-bedroom holiday residence (that can resemble a folding hand fan from above) provides multi-directional views of the river and landscape. The sustainable build was erected on conservation land, and therefore great consideration was given to energy efficiency, leaving Hunsett Mill nearly self-sufficient.

This sustainable one-bedroom demonstration house in San Francisco was designed for World Environment Day 2005 and was erected in a staggering two-week build. Inspired by the abundance of waste in today’s society, ScrapHouse was sourced entirely from reclaimed and reused materials, including exterior walls made from street signs; vertically stacked phonebooks that provide both insulation and texture; and discarded lamps repurposed to create an inventive and original chandelier.

La Maraleja Chalet 
This contemporary build represents the highest sophistication of the integration of modern technology and stunning design. The property, which is currently for sale with a price tag of nearly £6,350,000.00, is fully automated with iPhones and iPads to control lighting, curtains, alarm systems, the home cinema, and the interior and exterior sound systems. The geometric shapes and colours of the structure appear to float on water when viewed from the far side of the swimming pool. Environmentally friendly, the house boasts a geothermal heating system that reduces electricity consumption by 40%.

Nobis House 
Home of architect Susan Nobis, this private residence and workspace located near Lake Starnberg in Germany is a minimalistic interpretation of a traditional wooden boat house. The interior is lined with bookshelves in a style reminiscent of the racks rowing shells might be stored upon while the open-plan design still allows for cleverly tucked-away private rooms. The integration of wood and glass gives the structure a transparent feel, blending in with the surrounding nature and providing plenty of natural light through the large windows at either end of the house.

Dune House 
Warm and inviting feelings are conjured when viewing this cottage nestled in the dunes by the sea just south of Thorpeness in Suffolk. Its position among the dunes serves not only aesthetic fulfilment, but also the practical purpose of wind protection, necessary because of its seaside location. The two floors exhibit a pleasing disconnect, which allows the top floor—designed in relation to the nearby British seaside homes—to appear to float above the glass of the ground floor base below. The holiday home, one of several commissioned by Living Architecture, was created for the company in an effort to revolutionize both architecture and UK holiday rentals, and allows renters to experience beautiful architecture while escaping to the seaside for a relaxing holiday. Discover more unique homes on property sites such as Zoopla.

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