Designed to offer its owners a quiet spot for peaceful contemplation, this om-inspiring structure uses simple forms and materials to magnificent effect. The steel-framed glass box is anchored by a U-shaped concrete base, over which the structure cantilevers out into a grove of California oaks. Architect: Swatt|Miers Architect, Emeryville, Calif. Builder: Neto Builders, Los Gatos, Calif. This building was also selected as project of the year for the 2010 residential architect design awards.
Built for a pair of art dealers, this 620-foot structure pulls triple duty as a guest room, pool house, and art gallery. Two stucco perimeter walls provide hanging space for art, while the other two walls offer access to the pool and yard through full-height sliding glass doors. When needed, a Murphy Bed folds out to accommodate visitors. Architect: Steinbomer & Associates Architects, Austin, Texas Builder: MG Construction Works, Austin, Texas
While storage facilities are typically drab, this one is anything but. Built to house the owner’s collection of rare hand-illustrated avian books, the structure brought that theme to life with a bird cage facade. Formed of galvanized wire panels, steel tubing, and concrete block, the cages are maintenance-free, yet eminently memorable. Architect: Jon Pantratz Architect, Fredericksburg, Texas Builder: Laughlin Homes and Restoration, Fredericksburg, Texas
Built to accompany a backyard swimming pool, this pavilion offers elegance, simplicity, and balance. A contemporary take on an Indian pavilion, the structure’s half-open configuration creates two distinct spaces without interrupting the exterior aesthetic. Architect: Saniee Architects, Greenwich, Conn. Builder: H&Y Construction, Brookfield, Conn. This pavilion won a Merit Award in the 2011 CUSTOM HOME Design Awards.
When zoning restrictions nixed any expansion or removal of an existing boathouse, this structure got a facelift instead. Built with a traditional English cottage flavor but the clean style of more contemporary architecture, the structure fits in beautifully with its lakeside surroundings without looking out of date. Architect: Albertsson Hansen Architecture, Minneapolis Builder: Artisan Builders, Minneapolis