Art & Design

April 4, 2017

8 Dreamy Houses Built into Nature

The beautiful meeting of man and wild

  • Written by Iona Goulder

The beauty of nature, and being in it, is the absence of the man-made. But some of the world’s most breath-taking architecture benefits from being in the middle of nowhere (and from not always totally subtly fitting in).

As we become increasingly urbanised, our human desire to escape and retreat – at least temporarily – grows, and architecture is creating new interactions with nature through the guided hand of the artificial. Whether it’s Swedish cabins or Japanese tree houses, the exceptional beauty of these buildings can help us see nature anew.

Phaidon’s new book Elemental Living looks at the architects embracing nature and the new possibilities for materiality. Here we round up the boldest houses built into nature.

Saunders Architecture, Fogo Island Studios, 2011, Fogo Island, Canada 


Bent René Synnevåg

Rick Joy Architects, Sun Valley House, 2013, Sun Valley, USA


Joe Fletcher Photography

MIMA, MIMA Light, 2011, Viana do Castelo, Portugal

123 MIMA Light

José Campos Photography

Selldorf Architects, Pika House, 2006, Dunton Hot Springs, USA

The roof deck has unobstructed vistas of Dolores Peak, looming in the northeast. Selldorf was commissioned to design a house that would, above all, provide the family with privacy. Although it's “a frivolous thought,” she says with a laugh, “I've al

David Marlow

John Pawson, Montauk House, Montauk, USA


Gilbert McCarragher

Adalberto Libera and Curzio Malaparte, Casa Malaparte, 1942, Capri, Italy

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Unimedia Images/REX/Shutterstock (1298871a) Casa Malaparte The Italian Contemporary Architecture of Casa Malaparte, Capri, Italy - 21 Mar 2011

Photo by Unimedia Images/REX/Shutterstock (1298871a)

Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater, 1939, Mill Run, USA

EFCKKD The Frank Lloyd Wright designed Fallingwater or Kauffmann Residence in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, USA

© Ian G Dagnall / Alamy Stock

Olson Kundig, The Pierre, 2010, San Juan Islands, USA


Dwight Eschliman / Olson Kundig

Elemental Living by Phaidon is out now.


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