In this post we are going to review the ten most innovative and stunning houses designed by world-known architects. All of them, in accordance to their own authors and transgressive with the rules of their time, represent the best in single-family architecture around the world.  They also share a special connection with Nature, forming a part of their environment and connecting the interior and the exterior as a whole. Take a look at them and see if they give you any ideas for your project!


1. FALLINGWATER HOUSE – Frank Lloyd Wright



The “Fallingwater”, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright y built in the late 1930s can be found in Pennsylvania. It became famous even during its construction due to the fact that it seems to be built over a small waterfall, integrating completely with the natural surroundings. When the owners, Mr & Mrs Kaufmann, saw the blue prints for the first time they felt quite surprised as they imagined their house having views over the waterfall, not being literally over it. In fact, you cannot even see the water falling from the house… but you can hear it for sure!


2. VILLA MAIREA – Alvar Aalto




Without a doubt, this is my favourite. “Villa Mairea” is a big villa designed by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto and built between the years 1938-1939 in Noormarkku. The house has an “L” shape, to create a semi-private area in one side and a formal and exclusive area on the other, facing the public. The garden and the swimming pool are in the angle of the “L”, to be observed from almost all the rooms. The interior is very comfortable, using mostly wood, bringing the exterior inside and creating a magic atmosphere according to Nature.


3. EDWARD R. HILLS HOUSE – Frank Lloyd Wright



We repeat another work of the famous American architect with a single-family detached house that is also among my favourite. In this case, it’s a large house located in Chicago, in the suburbs of Oak Park, where the architect built so many houses. If you go to the Windy City, don’t forget to visit the marvellous zone in which Wright’s creations stand among modern homes. In this “Hills House” we can see clearly the characteristic “Prairie Style”, although mixed with more experimental designs. The windows, made of different shapes and materials, are also worth looking at.


4. FARNSWORTH HOUSE – Mies van der Rohe



“Farnsworth House” was designed in the middle of last century by the famous architect Mies van der Rohe for the doctor Edith Farnsworth. It is a simple metallic glazed structure in an absolute connection with the environment. Nature has a main role and the house becomes a look-out of the prairie. In this case, the outside and the inside get connected, as there are not even paths that show the entrance. It seems to be floating among the trees and the river. Despite its beauty, it was always a bit uncomfortable for its guests; the nearby river flooded it several times and the glass walls made it very permeable to temperature, both in the summer and in the winter.


5. VILLA SABOYA – Le Corbusier



“Villa Saboye” is a house located in Poissy, in the outskirts of Paris, designed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier in 1929. It has all the typical elements of this architect (standing on pilotis – columns –, a flat roof, wide open interior space, sliding windows…). One of the most important characteristics is the curved slope with the exact angle for the car to turn and go inside the garage. Another ramp staircase goes from top to bottom connecting all the rooms of the house.


6. CASA DAS CANOAS – Óscar Niemeyer




The so called “Casa Das Canoas” was built in 1951 by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, as a home for his family.  It lies in Tijuca Forest, near Rio de Janeiro and it is was of the best examples of his architecture. It’s an organic building, with sinuous shapes, where home and nature intermingle in an amazing way. A discreet entrance gives way to the garden, the house and the swimming pool, all forming one. The roof is like a floating porch and covers some glazed walls that bring the garden inside the house. A huge rock appears between the building and the pool, and it even continues in the inside, becoming a substantial decorative element of the building, instead of an obstacle.


7. KAWANA HOUSE – Norman Foster & Asociados




“Kawana House”, located in the coast line of the Bay of Sagami, surrounded by volcanoes, was designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster as a way of unifying in a single building Japanese traditional architecture (with its respect for Nature) and the Western refinement (that brings metal and glass to the building. As some other houses we have already reviewed, it stands on a platform over the land, so the main areas of the building have views over the see and the service areas are distributed along the perimeter. A beautiful detail is the antique stone carved Japanese lanterns in front of the swimming pool. The interior reminds of the “tatamis” from Japanese palaces, with all the rooms connected and a system of panels that open and close spaces as desired.






This is the most contemporary residence in our list; in fact, it’s still under construction. It is a house created by the British Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid in the outskirts of Moscow for the top-model Naomi Campbell and her fiancé Vladislav Doronin. The shape of the house reminds of a look-out, emerging from the hill with a 20-metre high tower in which stands the main bedroom. The swimming pool is multi-purpose, as it can be transformed into a dance floor. This residence is not suitable for all budgets, as it will be 2.650 square metres when finished.


9. KOSHINO HOUSE – Tadao Ando



The so called “Koshino House”, by its owner, the Japanese designer Koshino, is located in Ashiya, a small village between Osaka and Kobe, in Japan. The house stands in the slope of a mountain and it’s literally embedded in the ground, creating a big contrast between the green of the land and the grey geometric forms of the building. Ando made the visitor approach the house from the upper part, and before going inside, you find the roof of the house. It’s a maze of light and shadow created by concrete, divided into two parallel bodies, linked by an underground corridor. The shorter side has a large living-room, while the longer contains the bedrooms and the private area. Further on, the architect added a third part, for the owner’s studio. All of these give the house the impression of a Japanese garden, designed to take into account the natural environment.


10. HOUSE-ESTUDIO EAMES – Charles & Ray Eames




This simple house-studio, designed by the architect Charles Eames and his wife Ray, artist and designer, was built in California in 1949. It is located in a meadow among eucalyptus trees, near Los Angeles. It is absolutely open to the outside, to enjoy the sun, the breeze of the sea and nature itself, and it means a clear example of modular dwelling; easy to build and assemble. It has two adjoining buildings, one for residential and the other one for the studio. The surprising thing is that the structure was built in only 90 hours, using concrete and steel. The outside is made of glass walls combined with wood and concrete panels, and even asbestos panels, so much used along the 20th century.

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