When you don’t aspire to live with the general public, or you hate pesky humans, some architects have a fix. These creators can integrate your home with the landscape or ‘hide’ your residence on the side of a cliff. They are skilled professionals who design incredible homes that are concealed from plain sight.
Their homes go beyond contemporary designs while offering the necessary tools that make domestic life bearable.
They can hook you up if you are looking for a dwelling place that elicits emotions while providing a unique experience. This is the kind of home that inspires its inhabitants while giving architects the opportunity to explore their imaginations.
Who doesn’t admire a home with a secret passageway; or one that can only be accessed via a tunnel?
We would appreciate it if our digs were self-sufficient; where everything is powered by solar energy and we can fetch fresh water from a private well. The same home can be equipped with a backup diesel generator and a cistern for collecting rainwater and runoff.
What about a dwelling that is between red rock mountains inside a stunning valley? Remember, this home is not primitive. It has a 3-car garage, Wi-Fi, and a mature orchard with all kinds of fruits. Most importantly, it is unique because it is built into the side of a mountain, and it is more than 2,000 square feet.
Then there are homes that are still on ‘paper,’ like the Cliff House. It is expected to have all the modern amenities, yet it clings to the side of a cliff in rural Australia. Can it be a reality? Or is it the work of an artful Photoshop artist and not glass and steel trying to defy gravity? Regardless, some architects deserve all the glory because they have designed remarkable homes that are hidden from society. While some of these designs have seen the concrete mixer, some are still concepts that are yet to materialize.
15. CLIFF HOUSE
This is a food-for-thought concept that was brought up by Australian firm, Modscape. It was named Cliff House because it clings to the side of a cliff somewhere in Australia. It is visualized as a natural extension of the cliff and is supposed to create a connection with the ocean.
Modscape created the design for a couple that was interested in a new home in one of their lands in Victoria, Australia.
The house boasts of stunning views and features a barbecue area, a lounge, kitchen, a spa, a large bathroom and a dining room. The design was inspired by how barnacles cling to the hull of a ship.
Considering its location, it is expected that this five-story modular home will operate off-grid, but the main concerns are its structural stability, its costs, and how it can withstand erosion.
The house is accessed through a carport on the top floor, and a lift makes it possible to access the remaining living spaces. A winding staircase is also an option for a brave soul that can take the vertigo-inducing display of the horizon. Otherwise, diazepam may be needed.
14. BECKHAM CREEK CAVE HOUSE
The Beckham Creek Cave is a luxurious home that is set in a private 260-acre resort overlooking a valley near Parthenon, Arkansas. It took four years to construct and has endless possibilities for spelunking. Its cave system leads to underground lakes and natural caverns that are always thirsty to be explored.
The Beckham Creek Cave House is a rental property that is dedicated to the preservation of natural beauty. It has beautiful glass fronts that connect the inside with the outside world while also allowing enough natural light into its interior. It is perfect for family reunions, company retreats, and weddings because it provides the quietness and peace needed for such events.
It is only some 45 minutes away from White River, if you are looking forward to trout fishing, and some 12 miles away from Buffalo National River, which is known for kayaking.
The Beckham Creek Cave House has multiple living areas with lofts and balconies. Each of its four bedrooms is unique with its exposed cavern walls and queen-sized beds. The Master suite has a spa-like bathroom, and its kitchen is a gourmet’s dream with its high-end equipment.
13. MONTEZUMA CANYON CLIFF HAVEN
This three-bedroom cliff retreat overlooks 52 acres of Montezuma Canyon in Utah and is carved into a mountain. It is a 2,100-square foot home that was constructed in 1986 by former owners Phil and Barbara Houghton.
This outstanding house has a resembling color to the stunning red rock formations nearby and lets nature take center stage. The land, where the property sits, was previously home to the Anasazi people more than ten centuries ago. The house is only 90 minutes away from iconic tourist attractions like Monument Valley and Lake Powell.
The Montezuma Canyon Cliff Haven was designed to support an off-grid lifestyle and has been equipped with three bedrooms and an orchard. The trees in the orchard were planted more than 20 years ago and are rich with plums, pears, apricots, cherries, and apples. Owners are free to grow whatever they want.
Its other notable features include a vineyard, a garden, Wi-Fi, solar panels, a backup generator, a private well, a propane system, a phone line, historical treasure trails, and a fresh water system. In addition, it has a 12,000-gallon cistern that collects rainwater and runoff.
It has two bathrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and three garages. At the back, it has a tunnel that can be used for collecting water while also serving as a fire escape. This spectacular three-bedroom haven is a gem to archaeology buffs who may want to check out Anasazi artefacts and relics, which are littered around the rocky trails surrounding the residence.
The Montezuma Canyon Cliff Haven is a great place to spend summers and is an ideal location for a doomsday-prepper.
12. CASA BRUTALE
From its inception, Casa Brutale was intended to become a viral phenomenon. In fact, it was designed for an entire four months (between March-July 2015) with the intention of ‘breaking the internet.’ Its designers, OPA (Open Platform for Architecture), wanted to create a sensation in every possible way while also showcasing their platform. The project began as an exercise in conceptual architecture and is a poetic homage to brutalist architecture.
The house was conceptualized as an inverted Casa Malaparte and looks like an impossible structure that is about to defy physics. When the plan was released to the public, it did ‘break the internet,’ just like its owners had intended. The design received enough media attention that it enabled OPA to find a partner for the project: Arup Amsterdam.
It was decided that Casa Brutale was going to be constructed on the edge of Faqra Mountain in Lebanon, at about 1,600 meters above ground.
Since its first concept, the residence has grown to 270 square meters (from 180 square meters) and has an estimated budget of $2.5 million. It has an underground parking and can accommodate up to six people.
The house will mostly feature thick concrete slabs and will be topped by a reinforced glass that will double as its roof. It will be accessed either from beneath with the use of an elevator, or from above via a staircase. The interior will include four bathrooms, a kitchen, a dining area, and a lounge area.
11. VIVOS EUROPA ONE
This fortified underground shelter, located in Rothenstein, Germany, has more than 21,000 square meters of secure living space that also happens to be blast proof. The facility can withstand an airline crash, earthquakes, flooding, nuclear explosions, and all manner of attacks.
The housing unit is made up of around 3 miles of continuous tunnel chambers and can provide sufficient security to families and different groups of people. It has its train depot, an office above ground, warehouse buildings, and apartments.
Vivos Europa One has been rumored to be one of the world’s biggest underground homes that is private. The Soviets carved it under a mountain during the Cold War, and it was used to store military equipment and weapons.
But today, it is privately owned and is considered the modern-day Noah’s Ark because it can allow its occupants to survive most disasters or catastrophes without support from the outside world. Vivos Europa One boasts of outdoor spaces, gyms, restaurants, theaters, swimming pools, and custom apartments.
10. GREEN MAGIC HOMES
The Green Magic Homes give you an opportunity to live under nature. It could be a landscape, your trees, or your garden. They are energy-efficient and eco-friendly while offering all the comfort of a conventional house.
The houses are constructed using fiber components that are strong enough, waterproof, and durable. These homes can be assembled in the shortest time, and they give a homeowner an opportunity to create a beautiful living environment that integrates with nature at the lowest cost possible.
The design allows the interior to be naturally illuminated while the clean architecture provides endless design possibilities. The arched ceilings, rounded corners, and washable walls make the house easier to manage.
These Hobbit-like houses are not restricted to one design, and if you think joining the structures is cumbersome, you have the option of getting prefabricated modular-like structures that fit your specifications.
9. MIRAGE HOUSE
The Mirage House boasts a private pool and stunning island views that stretch over the Aegean Sea. It covers some 197 square meters and is one of the best places to seek refuge from the crazy city life.
This secluded getaway is located in Tinos (also referred to as the Island of Madonna), and one of its outstanding features is that it has been designed to be an ‘invisible oasis.’ It is the idea of Kois Associated Architects and is a single-story building built on a rocky coastline. Kois came up with the plan after a client requested a design that would ensure privacy and invisibility while also mimicking the surrounding landscape.
The Mirage House will have an infinity pool (brought by the visual effect of the mirroring of the pool) on its rooftop that will protect the house from solar radiation while providing the required thermal insulation. The house is expected to have a spacious outdoor room on its front, three bedrooms, and a kitchen.
When viewed from a distance, especially on higher ground, the only visible part of the house is the pool water. The house successfully ‘disappears’ into the scenery. Also, keep in mind that Tinos is famous for its picturesque villages and unspoiled architecture.
8. EDGELAND HOUSE
The Edgeland House is a re-interpretation of the Native American Pit House and has been built on rehabilitated brownfield. It has an insulative green roof and goes 7-foot into the ground to ensure its temperatures are well regulated throughout the year. The house features geothermal heat exchange, phase-change thermal heat, and hydronic heating and cooling.
The roof and the site are home to 40 native species of wildflowers and plants; a possible reason why it may have taken a year to complete the house, which was finished in 2012. Its west wing has a kitchen, dining rooms, and living rooms while the east side has two bathrooms, two bedrooms, and an attic. Its large glass panels make it noticeable and allow it to receive natural light.
The 1,400 square feet triangular house was designed by Bercy Chen Studio and provides a unique way to enjoy the surrounding. It is a nature bunker that wanted to explore the industrial zone on the shores of the Colorado River.
7. VILLA VALS
It was the work of two architects from CMA and SeARCH. Their main idea was to integrate the villa into the landscape without interfering with nature. Villa Vals was completed in 2009 and brought together objects and pieces from various architects and designers; giving it a unique interior and style.
This freestanding dwelling is located in the popular Swiss village of Vals and neighbors the famous Therme of Peter Zumthor. Vals is famous for Therme Vals, its natural hot springs.
Villa Vals is around 160m2 and has a slightly slanted façade. It is a luxurious villa that is quiet and only accessible via an underground tunnel that starts in an old Graubünder barn. It was dug out of the mountainside and can accommodate a maximum of 12 occupants. The garden that surrounds it offers great privacy, and its enormous glass façade provides a remarkable view of mountain tops and green meadows.
6. JUNGLE HOUSE
The Jungle House is located in the rainforest region of Paulista shore and projects itself from the mountain. While it looks ‘gentle,’ most of its architectural elements were tweaked to interact with nature.
It has three floors, and the ground floor houses a huge wooden deck that is connected to a small room. It has six bedrooms on the first floor, all of which face the lush forest; with five having small verandas with hammocks. The third-floor acts as the house’s social area and has a kitchen, a grass-covered terrace, a living room, a sauna, and a swimming pool.
The Jungle house is near Guarujá and was built into the hills with its main living area on its top most floor. While the walls are textured, the interior is cozy and welcoming.
5. HOUSE OF STONE
It stands between Fafe and Celorico de Basto in northern Portugal. It is also commonly referred to as A Casa do Penedo.
The rare house was constructed between four enormous boulders that were found on the site. The two-story home features a swimming pool that is carved out from one of the large rocks, and a fireplace. It also features bullet-proof windows and a steel door, which were later added because it was a subject of vandalism and robbery attempts.
Its construction commenced in 1972 and was completed in 1974; with the original owners intending to use it as a rural retreat for the family. However, since it was unique and beautifully integrated into the surrounding, it has attracted the attention of architecture enthusiasts and tourists. In fact, its constant attention is the reason its former owners were forced to relocate.
At first glance, it looks like a modern Stone Age structure, and rumor has it that the inspiration came from the famous American Flintstones cartoon that ran from 1960 to 1966. It certainly looks like a place the Flintstones would have loved to occupy. But it is no longer a private residence. Today, it serves as a small museum of relics
4. FALLINGWATER COTTAGES
They were designed by Patkau Architects from Vancouver and were supposed to be located in the hills of Bear Run Nature Reserve surrounding Fallingwater.
They were six underground cottages, and each cottage formed a small ridge. In series, the structures formed swells and falls of landform. The houses were supposed to be completely immersed in nature. Their interiors were made out of materials that required little maintenance while the living room area was open to the meadow.
The cottages were to be constructed because Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic masterpiece, became an Institute and needed accommodation for participants in its education programs. This meant that a design competition had to be held. Patkau Architects emerged victorious.
The competition was looking for low-maintenance and energy-efficient structures that would be used as benchmarks for the small-scale green housing.
The designs were supposed to utilize natural heating and cooling while also making use of materials that are environmentally friendly. Each design was required to have a shower, a kitchen, and a fireplace.
3. THE HOBBIT HOUSE, NEW ZEALAND
The beautiful 14-acre home is located near Matamata in New Zealand, and is one of the most famous underground houses because it was built for the Lord of the Rings film. However, after the filming, some people figured that the ‘village’ would be turned into a tourist attraction.
It is made up of 44 Hobbit homes, and the site construction commenced in March 1999, while filming began in December of the same year. It was then rebuilt in 2011 for the Hobbit film series.
Today, it has become a permanent attraction and has all the hobbit bridges, gardens, holes, the famous Party Tree, and The Green Dragon Inn. Originally, it only had thirty-seven hobbit holes, which had been created using ply, polystyrene, and untreated timber. But the extra holes were added after the 2011 renovation.
2. KTIMA HOUSE, GREECE
This cave-like structure is built into the side of a hill and is located on the island of Antiparos in Greece.
The house is sandwiched into fertile slopes and is surrounded by trees. The name, Ktima, means a plot of fertile land and is probably the reason the site features steep slopes that look green and lush. Surprisingly, it has the comfort of most conventional homes. For example, it has a pool and a sizeable living room.
The Ktima House has a few patios on its back that are crucial for ventilation and illumination. Its green roof ensures the temperature is constant without relying on a cooling system.
The main idea behind its design was to use the existing topography and site walls to come up with two dissimulated house elevations. It was divided into two levels: the entrance level and the lower level. The entrance level is the location of the main house while the lower level accommodates the guest house and staff areas.
1. HEBRIDEAN EARTH HOUSE
It is an underground self-catering home in Askernish, South Uist, that most people don’t know exists.
The Hebridean Earth House is a stylish house that was built into the hillside on the shore of a lake. It incorporates solar-tubes in its design to ensure the house is well lit while guaranteeing its occupants gorgeous views: an island, trees, swans, several kinds of birds, and a stream that runs through the yard. Beyond, you can also spot the beautiful village of Askernish.
Its bedroom has a walk-in wardrobe and a double bed, and it has a spacious sitting room that has an armchair, a plasma fire, and deep leather sofa. In the living room, you will also find a range of entertainment devices, from video players to iPod Docking stations. There is also free internet.
The living area is equipped with an underfloor heating system to ensure enough comfort and warmth.
The house also features a well-equipped kitchen, a dining room with space for four, a spacious shower room with toilet and walk in shower, and an outdoor sitting area.
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