With a sleek prototype in Emeryville, California, under its belt, Simpatico Homes sets out to redefine prefab's cost—and footprint.Simpatico’s factory-built pieces come in two ceiling heights: nine or ten feet. Just above the ceiling, the customization continues—Simpatico modules can be designed to house green roofs, which boost insulation, absorb rainwater, and reduce runoff. In fact, the prototype makes use of all the rooftop spaces: Each one contains either a green roof, the 6.2-kilowatt solar-panel array, a roof deck, or terraces. “Every inch of the roof is doing double-duty,” Krubiner says. Read more about the prefab house here. Photo by: Jake Stangel
"It's not about the space; it's about envisioning what you can do with what you have," says landscape designer Loretta Gargan. From the balcony of her recently renovated Ross, California, house, Gargan surveys the garden she designed for herself. See more of the landscape here. Photo by: Morgan Rachel Levy
Architect Brue Bolander designed a petite house in Malibu, California, to take full advantage of striking canyon views. Read more about the small-space project here. Photo by: J Bennett Fitts
With almost as much area dedicated to decks as to interiors, Peter Dwares’s house is truly made for outdoor enjoyment. Read more about the flood-proof Stinson Beach abode here. Photo by: Matthew Scott
Coastal, on a hill, and made from inexpensive materials, Joanna Ferguson's house is a catalog of moving surfaces and open rooms. Here, she stands on one of the balconies extending from the guest bedrooms. See more of the space here. Photo by Amanda Prior.
A Norman Foster master plan has transformed a decaying German industrial port into a vibrant neighborhood. It’s not about a single dramatic image, but what Foster calls “incremental change” using plenty of “urban glue.” The view through the apartments' balconies casts a dramatic perspective. Photo by: Hertha Hernaus
Every apartment in the Bjarke Ingels–designed Mounain Dwellings has a terrace measuring around 1,000 square feet, with both private and semipublic spaces. “The cool thing about a garden is it’s yours,” he says. “If you’re on the wooden part, you can suntan in your bikini bottom or go without pants.” If, however, you walk out onto the artificial turf, you can see what’s going on with your neighbors (and they can see you). Photo by: Jens Passoth