Basel-based architect Silvia Gmür’s concrete villa on Lake Maggiore is a remarkable platform from which to marvel at sublime, peaked vistas. Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Farnsworth House is clearly in the DNA of her weekend getaway, but she disrupts the purity of the glass-box formula even as she preserves its sense of mathematical precision. Gmür’s version has two floors, each a separate home, each slashed in half creating a large terrace, and each punctuated by an unlikely pair of pyramids, one of which is made to stand on its head. It’s a gravity-defying joke on the cantilevered engineering holding all that concrete aloft, with a sly, topsy-turvy reference to the surrounding mountain peaks. Photo by Hélène Binet.
Curving up 44 levels, the Coil house by Tokyo architect Akihisa Hirata redefines flexible living. Each room has a loosely defined purpose that changes according to the whims of the family. Devoid of heavy furniture, each landing accommodates a multitude of activities on a daily basis. “[This] fits our ‘futon lifestyle,’” says the resident, explaining that the family freely spreads out their mattresses on any of the large landings at night. Photo by Koichi Torimura.