World's Wildest Houses VIII
This Old House brings you a new crop of amazing abodes so wild, you'll have to see them to believe it
It's that time again! Over the years, we've shown you houses shaped like elephants, toilets, pickle barrels, dogs, and UFOs, to name a few. You've seen cave houses, tree houses, and floating houses. There were houses made of bottles, beer cans, tea cups—you name it!
Here's our latest round up of the world's wildest houses, from a Pyramid House in Hiroshima (not to be mistaken for the golden pyramid World's Wildest Houses VII in Wadsworth, Texas) to the fabulously futuristic Aura Villa on the beautiful island of Cyprus. Who needs an expensive family vacation to see the new wonders of the world when you can see them all right here?
Remember when shipping container houses World's Wildest Houses VII were all the rage? Now eco-minded builders are looking for other stuff to repurpose. For example, Athens-based designers Artside Antonas are creating modern, mobile dwellings out of junkyard-bound liquid container trucks.
The architects designed two versions of their liquid container truck apartments. One model is meant to serve as a permanent, stationary home, while the second functions as a mobile home, which can be hitched to cars and trailers. Interiors are minimalist in design; Not much you can do to the inside of a glorified milk can, after all.
Village of Harads, Sweden
Here at TOH, we love a good tree house. That's probably why there has been an elevated abode in just about every installment of World's Wildest Houses. We've taken you over to Sweden's Tree Hotel complex to see their modern Mirrorcube tree house in World's Wildest Houses VII. But, if you'd prefer something a bit more rugged, check out the nearby Bird's Nest. Designed by architect Bertil Harstrom and built in 2010, you enter the structure by retractable staircase.
Though the nest's exterior appears quite at home in the wooded landscape, the interior is surprisingly modern. The tree house can accommodate a family of four, with sliding doors separating the living area from sleeping quarters. To spend the night in the most awesome hotel room ever, visit Treehotel for more information.
This shiny, black pyramid-looking structure in Hiroshima may seem futuristic and modern, but the architects at the Suppose Design Office were actually inspired by the earliest form of Japanese architecture: pit dwellings. Japan's first pit dwelling dates back to around 200 B.C., when holes were carved into the landscape and covered by thatched roofs.
This modern-day Japanese pit dwelling juts out in a street of more traditional suburban-looking homes. Inside you'll find three levels. The bottom floor features a great room with living area and kitchen. A staircase going up the center of the house takes you to the second floor master suite and bath, while the top level opens to modern multi-purpose space with a wide-open skylight.
What's really wild about this house is how far Hein-Troy Architects went to keep the design sustainable. Fully outfitted with solar panels to provide all of the home's power, it's been billed as the first zero-energy, carbon-neutral single-family house in Austria. In fact, the house actually produces more energy than was used to build it.
Completed in the Fall of 2010, every material used in the construction was evaluated for ecological compliance by the Austrian Institute for Construction Biology and Ecology (IBO). For example, the spruce wood exterior siding and interior paneling was locally grown and processed. The interior's design brings in nature with large windows and several skylights that flood the place with sunlight.
Rio Coffio, Spain
This house—designed to hang off of a cliff just outside of Madrid—was built by the Arturo Franco Office for Architecture. Believe it or not, the firm's clients were limited by finances and had to look for low-cost building materials to make their dream home a reality. So they opted for an affordable metal frame stacked over concrete pillars.
Due to the nature of the unconventional building site, the cliffhanging casa was pre-built then moved to its final location. Well-placed cutouts, windows, and skylights illuminate the ultra-modern interior and allow for maximum ventilation.
This futuristic oceanside villa, designed by Andreas Trisveis of Mobius Design Group, is equipped with six bedrooms, a media room, two Jacuzzis—and even a hammam, or Turkish bath. The most breathtaking feature of the exterior, especially from a bird's eye view, is the metal-and-glass lattice roof canopy.
The luxury villa is outfitted with high-end furniture, linens, and appliances. Common areas offer panoramic views of the Mediterranean outside, while the inside is decorated with art pieces by world-famous sculptors.
Math geeks rejoice! This house is described as "a descriptive model of a surface developed by topological mathematicians" to be a residential representation of the Klein Bottle concept. Whatever that means. Either way, the origami-looking building—with an exterior of concrete sheeting—makes for an interesting vacation house near Melbourne. It was designed by architect McBride Charles Ryan.
A dramatic center staircase travels up through guest suites and ends in the penthouse great living room, with breathtaking views of the landscape. The house has received "World's Best House" and "Best International Home" awards from the World Architecture Festival and Grand Designs, respectively.
Architect Dai Haifei was tired of high rents. So the recent grad built this egg house to stick it to the man and live rent-free. The eco-friendly apartment is made of sacks filled with wood chippings and grass seeds (which will grow to insulate the egg) on a bamboo frame.
Inside, the young architect can fit a bed, a water tank, and a lamp. In his journal documenting the project, Haifei wrote, "Do not want to live like ants in the remote corners of the city, do not want to give hard-earned wages to the landlord, do not want to spend three hours each day on the crowded bus."
While many can relate to the problem of high rents, the City Urban Management of Haidian has deemed the house an illegal construction and demanded its removal.
This underground house was built in 1985 by Mexican organic architect Javier Senosiain. His inspiration? A peanut shell. Naturally. The cave-like home is comprised of two large oval rooms connected by a long, narrow passageway.
A kitchen and living area can be found in one of the ovals, while bed and bath are situated in the other. Despite being built almost completely underground, skylights and uncluttered interior design make for a light, bright space.
This whimsical take on the mobile home was built by a few DIY-minded fans of steampunk design. Calling themselves the Neverwas Project, the group of tinkerers created this self-propelled, 3-story Victorian house out of 75-percent recycled materials. The vehicle was originally built to carry the group as they explored Black Rock Desert and, of course, attended Burning Man festivals.
The Neverwas Project crew has traveled all over the country for various fairs and showcases, collecting oddities and salvage materials for new inventions along the way. Honoring the steampunk aesthetic, all of the Haul's inhabitants must be dressed in Victorian period attire. So there's a costumer on-hand to make sure that the group's look matches their sweet ride. But wait! There's more good news: Now that the Haul is no longer on tour, you can rent the thing for events. "For the right price," the Neverwas Project's website says, "the Haul can be transported to your location." Well, thank heavens for that.