The landscape of the Cycladic Islands is so breathtaking, it’s a shame to see it torn up for houses that don’t fit the local architectural vernacular or blend into their natural surroundings. This gorgeous project by decaARCHITECTURE uses earth-retaining stone walls and ceilings covered in native grasses to honor the integrity of the location, with one cubic courtyard and one sloping courtyard bringing sunlight into the center of the home.
Dragon House, Spain
With its handmade zinc roof tiles mimicking the scales of a dragon, the incredible House on the Cliff by GilBartolome Architects seems to peer out from a cliff in Grenada, Spain, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Nearly all of its two-story interior is subterranean, with a split-level living room opening onto a cantilevered terrace with a swimming pool on the lower level. Glass balconies extend from the dormer windows of the second floor bedrooms.
Hillside House by SeARCH, Vals, Switzerland
Available for rent, Villa Vals by SeARCH Architecture is the ultimate modern hobbit house, almost entirely hidden from view other than its circular courtyard. To get to it, you have to enter an unassuming shed just down the hill, which connects to the villa by an underground tunnel. The slightly angled facade lets visitors gaze up at the mountains and alpine forests from inside, and there’s even a wood-fired hot tub in the courtyard.
Located just a mile from the beach near the village of Askernish on the Isle of South Uist, Hebridean Earth House is also available for rent. It’s built into the hillside on the shore of a freshwater lake, and its glass facade offers views of a stream running through the garden as well as an island of trees housing otters and swans. Inspired by stone age buildings, the house is only visible from the shore of the lake.