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10 Modern Rear Facades

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While curb appeal may get all the fan fair we think great architecture deserves kudos from all angles. Here, we've gathered 10 homes from the Dwell archives that pay as much attention to the design of back as the front.
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  Without altering its turn-of-the-20th-century facade, architect Christopher Polly transformed the rear of this Newtown, Australia, home from bleak to bright.

    Without altering its turn-of-the-20th-century facade, architect Christopher Polly transformed the rear of this Newtown, Australia, home from bleak to bright.

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  Behind an unassuming 19th-century facade in Singapore's Joo Chiat neighborhood, Ching Ian and Yang Yeo's renovation of a typical shophouse venerates tradition while looking squarely to the future. Yang Yeo and his girlfriend Ching Ian relax on the back stoop of their renovated and radically updated Singapore shophouse—an archetypal building type in this busy port city. “Shophouses brought back memories of our childhood,” says Yeo. Photo by Richard Powers.

    Behind an unassuming 19th-century facade in Singapore's Joo Chiat neighborhood, Ching Ian and Yang Yeo's renovation of a typical shophouse venerates tradition while looking squarely to the future. Yang Yeo and his girlfriend Ching Ian relax on the back stoop of their renovated and radically updated Singapore shophouse—an archetypal building type in this busy port city. “Shophouses brought back memories of our childhood,” says Yeo. Photo by Richard Powers.

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  With a little faith and a lot of foresight, Keisha Martin entrusted Laura Briggs and Jonathan Knowles to revitalize a derelict rowhouse, returning it to its original splendor and then some. Martin’s new home is both an homage to the past and a design for the future. A second-story balcony overlooks a small yard. Photo by Adam Friedberg.  Photo by: Adam Friedberg

    With a little faith and a lot of foresight, Keisha Martin entrusted Laura Briggs and Jonathan Knowles to revitalize a derelict rowhouse, returning it to its original splendor and then some. Martin’s new home is both an homage to the past and a design for the future. A second-story balcony overlooks a small yard. Photo by Adam Friedberg.

    Photo by: Adam Friedberg

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  On an eight-foot-wide site in London, architect Luke Tozer cleverly squeezed in a four-story home equipped with rain-water-harvesting and geothermal systems. At the back, the building steps down to the courtyard garden in a ziggurat formation, with the main living spaces on the lowest floor. Photo by Charlie Crane.  Courtesy of: Charlie Crane

    On an eight-foot-wide site in London, architect Luke Tozer cleverly squeezed in a four-story home equipped with rain-water-harvesting and geothermal systems. At the back, the building steps down to the courtyard garden in a ziggurat formation, with the main living spaces on the lowest floor. Photo by Charlie Crane.

    Courtesy of: Charlie Crane

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  Teaming up with architect Craig Steely, an industrial designer and a mechanical engineer find just the right design for a striking home on a San Francisco hill. At night, opening the entire top floor is a breeze. Russell-Clarke and Moolsintong are even planning of rigging some kind of sail over the back patio for shade. The hot tub is by Roberts Hot Tubs. Photo by Ian Allen.  Photo by: Ian Allen

    Teaming up with architect Craig Steely, an industrial designer and a mechanical engineer find just the right design for a striking home on a San Francisco hill. At night, opening the entire top floor is a breeze. Russell-Clarke and Moolsintong are even planning of rigging some kind of sail over the back patio for shade. The hot tub is by Roberts Hot Tubs. Photo by Ian Allen.

    Photo by: Ian Allen

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  In a South Minneapolis neighborhood of century-old housing stock, Julie Snow’s bold but elegant residential design fulfilled Andrew Blauvelt and Scott Winter’s desire for a loft on the ground. Here's a proper view of the back of the house that reveals the height of the space and how the courtyard really does function as an outdoor room. Photo by Dean Kaufman.  Photo by: Dean Kaufman

    In a South Minneapolis neighborhood of century-old housing stock, Julie Snow’s bold but elegant residential design fulfilled Andrew Blauvelt and Scott Winter’s desire for a loft on the ground. Here's a proper view of the back of the house that reveals the height of the space and how the courtyard really does function as an outdoor room. Photo by Dean Kaufman.

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  With an extended family apt to drop by at a moment’s notice, lifelong modernist Hannah Ferguson has a new home that’s all about heritage. Coastal, on a hill, and made from inexpensive materials, the Ferguson house is a catalog of moving surfaces and open rooms. Photo by Amanda Prior.  Photo by: Amanda Prior

    With an extended family apt to drop by at a moment’s notice, lifelong modernist Hannah Ferguson has a new home that’s all about heritage. Coastal, on a hill, and made from inexpensive materials, the Ferguson house is a catalog of moving surfaces and open rooms. Photo by Amanda Prior.

    Photo by: Amanda Prior

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  High-rise superblocks and identical clusters of row houses set apart from the urban grid have been much maligned as some of the major wrongdoings of modernism, but Detroit's Lafayette Park—the first urban-renewal project in the United States—tells a vastly different story. Residents are allowed a small swath to plant gardens. "A lot of credit is due to the landscape architect," says Barlow, and "Mies's floor-to-ceiling windows make the spaces feel open, while at the same time the canopy of trees makes you feel protected. It's a private, quiet, green oasis within spitting distance of the freeway, and you'd never know it." Photo by Raimund Koch.  Photo by: Raimund Koch

    High-rise superblocks and identical clusters of row houses set apart from the urban grid have been much maligned as some of the major wrongdoings of modernism, but Detroit's Lafayette Park—the first urban-renewal project in the United States—tells a vastly different story. Residents are allowed a small swath to plant gardens. "A lot of credit is due to the landscape architect," says Barlow, and "Mies's floor-to-ceiling windows make the spaces feel open, while at the same time the canopy of trees makes you feel protected. It's a private, quiet, green oasis within spitting distance of the freeway, and you'd never know it." Photo by Raimund Koch.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  In southwest England, interior designer and avid furniture collector Kathryn Tyler built her home around the vintage pieces she’d amassed over a decade. A look at the exterior of Tyler and Brown's new 2,150-square-foot house, located a stone's throw away from Tyler's mother's home. Photo by Andrew Meredith.  Photo by: Andrew MeredithCourtesy of: Andrew Meredith 2007

    In southwest England, interior designer and avid furniture collector Kathryn Tyler built her home around the vintage pieces she’d amassed over a decade. A look at the exterior of Tyler and Brown's new 2,150-square-foot house, located a stone's throw away from Tyler's mother's home. Photo by Andrew Meredith.

    Photo by: Andrew Meredith

    Courtesy of: Andrew Meredith 2007

  • 
  Londoner Dave Clayden has gradually adjusted to life in the subtropics, where, as he puts it, “toweling yourself down after a shower is enough to make you start sweating again.” Clayden is perfectly happy enjoying the subtropical sun on the balcony, though his much-beloved cat Ginger appears far more enthusiastic about lolling on the patio. Photo by Richard Powers.  Photo by: Richard Powers

    Londoner Dave Clayden has gradually adjusted to life in the subtropics, where, as he puts it, “toweling yourself down after a shower is enough to make you start sweating again.” Clayden is perfectly happy enjoying the subtropical sun on the balcony, though his much-beloved cat Ginger appears far more enthusiastic about lolling on the patio. Photo by Richard Powers.

    Photo by: Richard Powers

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