A four-story penthouse inside one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York City adds a new twist to an otherwise austere living room: an 80-foot slide. Wow. Where can I get one?

PLASMA Studio shook up the look of a quaint hamlet in the Italian Alps with the addition of this angular, timber-lattice residence linked to a more traditional villa.

Australian architect Andrew Maynard turned what could have been a cramped rowhouse into a light-filled, eco-friendly dwelling that makes a 15-foot-wide room seem positively spacious.

Every year, storms and flooding kill hundreds of people in Vietnam. The Blooming Bamboo, a $2,500, quick-to-assemble house on stilts designed by H&P Architects, aims to keep occupants safe from floods up to 1.5 meters high.

Dutch firm NL Architects went above and beyond when asked to design a rooftop pool for a Florida beach house. Their three decadent concepts will put your rooftop garden to shame.

A sunken house for a sci-fi novelist reinterprets the style of Native American pit houses for the 21st century, creating a sustainable, spaceship-like home that springs up from the hole left by an old oil pipeline.

This three-bedroom "adult tree house" from GLUCK+ takes the form of a tiny skyscraper, offering plush views into the Catskills and beyond. A glass stairwell acts like a "solar chimney" to funnel out hot air in the summer, reducing energy costs.

The Soleta House combines extreme energy efficiency with ease of use. The cottage-like prototype drastically reduces energy use, and you can control the temperature with your smartphone.

MIT researchers have figured out a way to manipulate silkworms such that they can shape silk exactly how they want to, creating an additive manufacturing technique that could work on an architectural scale, as with this pavilion. Could insect swarms be the future of housing?

Earlier this year, the Stack a modular housing structure from Gluck+, began to take shape in New York's Inwood neighborhood. The seven-story, moderate-income apartment building is the city's first prefabricated residential structure.

NatureHumaine let its client take control of the construction for this four-story townhouse on an irregular lot in Montreal, and he improvised aspects of the design. The Stacked House accommodates its cramped surroundings with an interlocking room layout and an open-air interior courtyard.

Who wouldn't want to scale walls like Spiderman? Leandro Erlich's Dalston House uses mirrors to give visitors the illusion of crawling up a building sans harness as they safely explore a fake facade flat on the ground.

KamerMaker, or "room maker," is a project from Amsterdam's DUS Architects. Back in March, they started 3-D printing an entire, full-sized canal house, one room at a time, using exploratory materials like potato starch.

This home, inspired by Jane Fonda, would be partially powered by the workouts of its inhabitants. With exercise equipment that doubles as furniture, the JF-Kit House builds personal fitness directly into the design of the house.

Nearly 21 million wooden shipping pallets end up in landfills every year. With I-Beam's Pallet House, they could become homes for 40,000 refugees. The pallets could be used first to carry shipments of food and medicine, then be turned into a home in less than a week.

This single occupancy mobile home looks a bit like a Port-O-Potty from afar, but Renzo Piano's Diogene is an off-the-grid fantasy complete with photovoltaic solar cells, a rainwater tank, a composting toilet and natural ventilation system.

After so many beautiful houses, let's not forget the standouts on the other end of the spectrum. This sprawling Indianapolis estate is just as colorful as its late owner, a former pimp and construction mini-magnate. And not in a good way.


16 Of The Year's Coolest Houses (And One Really Ugly One)

The craziest, most innovative residential designs of the year include a slide-equipped penthouse, a modular apartment building in New York, and a rowhouse that's just 15 feet wide.

This has been a magnificent year for imaginative, beautiful housing ideas. From micro-homes with microscopic environmental footprints to multi-story penthouses with 80-foot slides running through them, the residences we saw in 2013 gave us plenty to lust after. Here are some of our favorites. Plus, just for fun, the one house you couldn't pay us to live in.

Add New Comment