written by:
July 12, 2013
These four pairs of modern dwellings and their past counterparts explore the evolution of architectural styles through the ages.
traditional sod house
When settlers first made their homes on the prairies of North America, the sod house was the prevalent form of architecture because wood wasn’t readily available. Settlers cut patches of sod into long rectangles and layered them together to form small huts. Photo via schmidt-thesman.blogspot.com
1 / 8
Modern sod roof

Today, builders in Europe and the U.S. alike are revisiting the idea of the sod house by putting green roofs on modern homes. Early settlers appreciated the insulation that sod provides, and it remains an ecologically friendly way to control temperature; the green-roofed house pictured here, from the Dwell story, “Highly Sod After,” saves its owners “about 25 percent per year in climate-energy costs.” 

Originally appeared in Modernist Rural Getaway in Poland
2 / 8
Inuit people building traditional igloo
Traditional Inuit culture involved cutting blocks of snow to build igloos, which held in body heat to combat the frigid climate of the Arctic Tundra. Photo via windows2universe.org
3 / 8
igloo hotel in Finland with glass roofs

The igloo village at Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland is a modern-day twist on these traditional snow structures. Between December and April, visitors can stay in an igloo of their own; the thermal glass roofs of the igloos pictured allow for late-night viewing of the Northern lights from the comfort of a warm bed. Photo via http://www.kakslauttanen.fi

Originally appeared in Pinterest Board of the Day: Hotels and Travel
4 / 8
traditional trading barge netherlands
In the early 20th century, trading barges like this one were in common use in the Netherlands. Traditionally, when their owners retired, these watercraft would be moored and used as family homes. Photo via lifeafloat.com
5 / 8
The couple plan to add a kitchen garden to the platform just below the terrace that connects to the kitchen.

Recently, the Netherlands has witnessed a resurgence in houseboat popularity. In March 2010, Dwell published the story of a family of four living on a moored houseboat on an Amsterdam canal, and they can attest to the luxury of the lifestyle. 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in At the Elm
6 / 8
traditional adobe homes New Mexico
Taos Pueblo in Taos, New Mexico, has been the home of a Native American community for over 700 years. Built from adobe —a durable mixture of earth, water, and straw — the houses pictured here are still home to about 150 Pueblo Indians today. Photo via National Geographic
7 / 8
Exterior rammed earth home

As featured in the July/August 2013 issue of Dwell Magazine, Roger and Mary Downey’s Corrales, New Mexico, home pays homage to the historical use of adobe in the Southwest. 

Originally appeared in A Sustainable Rammed Earth Home in New Mexico
8 / 8
traditional sod house
When settlers first made their homes on the prairies of North America, the sod house was the prevalent form of architecture because wood wasn’t readily available. Settlers cut patches of sod into long rectangles and layered them together to form small huts. Photo via schmidt-thesman.blogspot.com

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

A renovated brick house with metal standing-seam roof in Arlington, Virginia
With a new skeleton, a brick house on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., gets an eco-friendly upgrade—without losing its local charm.
May 05, 2016
simpler times australian vacation home vertical wood cladding
Robust materials and a flexible floor plan help the owners of an Australian vacation home reap maximum rewards.
May 05, 2016
sweet virginia vacation smart home facade granite stucco mahogany siding
This vacation home fosters connectivity in every sense of the word.
May 05, 2016
monkey see monkey do japan living dining room custom kitchen island stove vent eames chairs
And views of the wildlife aren't bad either.
May 05, 2016
Martis Camp 141 in Truckee California
Martis Camp 141 celebrates it mountainous surroundings with local materials.
May 05, 2016
havart 170
Updating standard pieces, designer Gaëtan Havart turns a misused space into a vibrant kitchen.
May 04, 2016
tech support stillwater dwellings prefab exterior napa
In Napa, a custom menu of apps helps a frequent traveler keep track of security—and his garden—from afar.
May 04, 2016
home for good renovation montreal family rear facade steel cladding footbridge garden
This family opens up an old structure and imagines a long-term house.
May 04, 2016
BKLYN DESIGNS 2016 location
From panel discussions to virtual reality demonstrations and more, this weekend will bring out the designer in everyone during BKLYN DESIGNS at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint from May 6-8, 2016. Here are just a few activities and installations to check out.
May 04, 2016
cbill timmerman photography jarson residence l7c4109 0
After a successful kick-off program in San Diego, we’re now making our way to Scottsdale, Arizona for the second stop on our Dwell Home Tours series. As the only desert locale on our agenda, we’re giving visitors the chance to explore exquisite modern residences that are fully immersed in the city’s arid landscape.
May 04, 2016
Modern winery in Central California
An updated California winery captures a prestigious architecture award.
May 03, 2016
back to the garden rhode island cottage small space facade landscaping
Outside Providence, Rhode Island, a little retreat takes up no more space than a standard two-car garage.
May 03, 2016
White staircase with skylight and under-stair storage
With clever storage and a retractable skylight, a London apartment feels larger than its 576 square feet.
May 03, 2016
Off-the-grid prefab in pristine Tasmanian landscape by Misho+Associates.
In Tasmania, an eco-conscious architect builds a vacation home that can stand up to an untamed island.
May 03, 2016
30degree pendants by wrong.london
The Danish design brand never disappoints.
May 02, 2016
practical magic brooklyn renocation kitchen caesarstone countertop stainless steel ikea cabinetes green vola faucet
A creative couple flips the script on their family home, a former workman’s cottage on the northern edge of Brooklyn.
May 02, 2016
history lesson kansas city outdoor backyard facade porch saarinen round table emeco navy chairs
An architect pushes the vernacular architecture of Missouri into the modern realm.
May 02, 2016
mission possible san francisco renovation facade exterior french doors cedar
A dilapidated lot in San Francisco gets a second chance.
May 02, 2016
Eames Demetrios of Kcymaerxthaere
The Eames scion and "geographer-at-large" traverses the globe on behalf of Kcymaerxthaere, a network of markers and monuments that tells fictional tales about real-life communities.
May 02, 2016
marcel breuer architect letter office kansas city snower house
See a glimpse into the office of a master architect.
May 01, 2016
Santa Monica living room with an Yves Klein coffee table
Dwell editor-in-chief Amanda Dameron talks us through Dwell's May 2016 issue.
May 01, 2016
house that sottsass built maui hawaii memphis group home renovation ettore facade colored volumes
In Maui, of all places.
May 01, 2016
two of a kind padua italy matching family homes facade green roof doors color
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to dream homes , we visited homes from Haiti to Italy. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
April 30, 2016
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
April 30, 2016
W House living room
Our best reader reactions this week.
April 29, 2016
Vineyard house illuminated at night
Rammed-earth construction fuses this Portuguese house to the environment.
April 29, 2016
vintage Scandinavian furniture Kathryn Tyler
In southwest England, interior designer Kathryn Tyler built her home around her ever-expanding furniture collection.
April 29, 2016
steel facade home Seattle
On the sandy shores of Fauntleroy Cove in Seattle, renowned firm Olson Kundig Architects crafts a subtle home with striking steel accents.
April 29, 2016
seperate piece renovated guesthouse eames storage unit cork floor tiles living room
An architect and an interior designer put the tools to the test for this impressive renovation.
April 29, 2016
Ceramics by WrenLab
Manhattan doesn’t get to have all the fun during NYCxDesign. Brooklyn is set for the return of BKLYN DESIGNS at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint from May 6-8, 2016. Here are just a few exhibitors we are excited to see this year.
April 29, 2016