Are these the 10 best houses of the year?

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Jewel or majestic; historical or contemporary; New constructions or smart renovations – here at Wallpaper *, we love residential projects. And we present a lot of them. Wallpaper * Architectural Editor-in-Chief Ellie Stathaki looked back last year and picked the 10 Best House Stories of 2021 for you to read, rediscover, and enjoy. There are modernist reinventions, lush retreats, subtle urban extensions, sustainable architectural designs, and innovative projects that push the boundaries of what a modern home should look like. Scroll down to discover its selection of the 10 best houses of the year (in no particular order).

Top 10 House Stories of the Year

01. The daring House for a Craftsman in Belgrade is squarely inspired by modernist ideas

Photography: Milos Martinovic

The TEN Architects House for a Craftsman is that rare object, a piece of experimental architecture that is also a functional family home. Perched on a gently sloping site outside of Belgrade, the house is inspired by Modernist ideas and was designed for a local craftsman with a career in interior remodeling. The new house was to be both a statement of purpose and a functional workbench for ideas, materials and techniques. It was also to be a deeply functional building that could be adapted, repaired and improved over the years. The architects, Nemanja Zimonjić, along with Ognjen Krašna, Jana Kulić and Miodrag Grbić, worked with the client on the house for more than three years, including one year on site. Writer: Jonathan Bell

02. Takero Shimazaki reinvents the typology of the cloister for a suburban house

Photography: Anton Gorlenko

Transforming a typical detached suburban house, with its four bedrooms and compartmentalized rooms and views, into a fluid, open-plan layout with a remarkable 13m loggia and seven bays, this project is called A Wall For A House. Created by London-based Takero Shimazaki Architects (t-sa), the design offers a new typology of suburban cloister for a family home. Shimazaki’s new loggia connects what were previously three separate rooms: the kitchen, the dining room and the living areas. Now, the united space combines four distinct functions: a Tandoor pod, a bar, the central dining table and a living room. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

03. Connected pods define Studio Saxe’s retreat in the Costa Rican jungle

Photography: Andres Garcia Lachner

This Costa Rican beachfront home in Santa Teresa was designed against the backdrop of the surrounding jungle. Its architect, the local Studio Saxe, took advantage of the house’s natural location and the region’s warm climate to create a holiday home open to its surroundings and becoming the perfect retreat. The house, named Sirena House, is structured around a series of “pavilions”. These accommodate the various residential functions and offer all modern comforts. At the same time, they appear light and transparent, designed under a slender roof canopy supported by delicate steel columns that resemble tree trunks and blend easily into the lush green landscape. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

04. Chicago’s upside-down house upsets convention

Photography: James Florio

Ardmore House was designed and built for personal use by architects Alison Von Glinow and Lap Chi Kwong of Kwong Von Glinow. Taking advantage of a neglected site – a small alley at the end of a residential avenue – the architects pushed the built envelope to the edge of the plot and reversed the traditional structure of the house. Despite the relatively conventional approach to pitched-roof homes, the upper floor houses the living space, with bedrooms on the middle floor and shops and utilities on the ground floor. The ridged facade reflects the interior layout, with a long row of glazing on the upper level and a solid concrete base where the project meets the street. Accoya wood siding comes in two shades, black and gray, further reducing the bulk of the overall volume. The independently accessible basement is zoned as a multi-functional space, incorporating storage space, a room for an office, or even a self-contained rental unit. The ground floor is dominated by a large interior courtyard, a gently curved volume that rises to the sloping roof and serves as both circulation space, a skylight and informal living space. . Writer: Jonathan Bell

05. Inside the world’s first 3D printed mud house

Photography: Iago Corazza

Mario Cucinella Architects built the world’s very first 3D printed house entirely in mud. Named “Tecla” and built in collaboration with specialists in the WASP field, the structure demonstrates the point where natural materials meet technology and was recently unveiled in the Italian region of Massa Lombarda, near the city of Ravenna. ‘Adopted from one of Italo Calvino’s imaginary cities, which continues to take shape, the name “Tecla” evokes the strong link between past and future combining the materiality and the spirit of timeless old dwellings with the world of the 21st century of high-tech production, say architects. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

06. Matharoo Associates’ concrete response to multigenerational living in India

Photography: Edmund Sumner

Inside a typical Indian house, you can usually find grandparents scurrying behind their grandchildren while business meetings are held in private quarters. In this part of the world, three – sometimes even four – generations often live under one roof, creating a complex interplay of daily lives. As cultural attitudes towards multigenerational living gradually change and families now often choose to create independent units, Matharoo Associates, an award-winning practice based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, has retained this traditional way of life in its latest project, Plain Ties. Located in Surat, a Gujarati port town known for its diamond cutting workshops, Plain Ties is a sophisticated 9,130 ​​square foot residence that combines modernity, tradition and a sense of experimentation. It is a house that places innovation at the heart of its concerns, in the true sense of the term. Gurjit Singh Matharoo, who founded Matharoo Associates in 1991, is known for his expertise beyond the world of architecture, designing motorcycles, cars and even mobile blood banks (W * 125), which enabled the company to create a circular central living room with movable concrete walls that skillfully divide and unify the rooms. Writer: Shawn Adams

07. This Japanese house is steeped in the optimism of the 1960s

Photography: Ben Richards

Even before entering Japanese architect Naoki Terada’s private home in Tokyo’s mostly residential Suginami district, you get the feeling that this Japanese house (and its owner) is something special. The oversized eye of an exact copy of Stanley Kubrick’s HAL 9000 interface stares at you beside the entrance. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Terada’s HAL has been reprogrammed to function only as a benign video intercom, but the love for what the future looked like in the late 1960s is evident throughout this Japanese home. “I love the way people saw the future as something exciting to look forward to. Today’s future looks darker, with climate change and other issues, ”Terada said. Writer: Jens H Jensen

08. High ceilings define Tara Gbolade’s spectacular wooden house

Photography: AlexUpton

A 1960s house in Chislehurst, Kent, UK has been remodeled with a dramatic extension by London-based Gbolade Design Studio. Led by Tara Gbolade, the architectural firm has created a bold new design, Timber House, which goes beyond pure aesthetics to enhance the building’s sustainability credentials and the architecture’s overall functionality. Clad in sleek dark wood and featuring a defining sloping roof, the house is the result of a commission to renovate and expand a family home. The new structure may have changed the spatial experience of the house, but it does not seem foreign to its context; in fact, its new shapes and dimensions are proportionate, respecting its environment and the existing building. Inside, however, the space has been dramatically improved, with the addition of high double-height ceilings, interiors with angular features (which mirror the original and new pitched roofs), and open plan layout that encourages interaction and flexibility for residents. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

09. The Rock is a house rooted in the Canadian mountains

Photography: Rory Gardiner

The latest offering from London architecture studio Gort Scott combines the beauty of design with respect for nature. The Rock is a remarkable family home that was designed as an architectural extension of the Canadian mountains. Rising from a series of landscaped levels hewn and built into the mountainside, it generously comprises six bedrooms and a two-bedroom guesthouse. Nestled in the bedrock of the slope, the building’s concrete architecture helps anchor it in its place. From there emerge three distinct “slats” that surround the living spaces, holding a wooden structure above. Perched on a distinctive rocky outcrop above Lake Alta, every room in the home is strategically located to make the most of key views to and from the site, as well as solar orientation. The design supports the client’s deep appreciation for the natural beauty of the site, which was explored by drawing and observing the different weather conditions and times of day at the site. Writer: Nuray Bulbul

10. A tree grows in this Italian house which is one with nature

Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani and Alessandro Saletta

If you walked past this house in the idyllic Parma countryside, you’d be forgiven for taking a double take; yes, it is a tree that grows inside. The Italian house does not necessarily stand out otherwise – through expressive shapes or unusual colors, for example – and it blends effortlessly into its landscape. Yet it is a project born from the marriage of opposites, explain its authors, the Italian architects Carlo Ratti and Italo Rota. Welcome to The Greenary, the sustainable family home of Francesco Mutti, CEO of one of the country’s most famous food companies, the Family Tomato Empire, Mutti. The project came to the architectural team – Ratti and Rota each run an independent firm, respectively in Turin and Milan – after meeting the client in a competition to work on parts of the Mutti factory. . Mutti, Ratti and Rota hit it off, and it was soon proposed that the architects (who in the meantime won the factory competition and are currently working on a few long-term projects on campus) rework a humble, old residential building. on the outskirts of the factory site into a family home. The existing building, a traditional brick structure, needed a facelift and extension, but most importantly, it had to convey the way of life and values ​​of the Mutti family, especially their close connection to nature and the Italian countryside – as the company is anchored in agriculture and its location. Writer: Ellie Stathaki

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