10 of the Best Architectural Homes You Can Actually Stay In

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By Mary Douris / Published by BoutiqueHomes
It’s easy to spend hours gazing at images of architectural dream homes, thinking “what if…?” But what if you could actually stay in one? We’ve picked out 10 of the best architect-designed homes around the world that are available as vacation home rentals.
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Designed by award-winning Chilean architects Pezo & Von Ellrichshausen, Casa Solo Pezo is constructed almost entirely of concrete and sits above the Puertos de Beceite National Park. It was selected as one of the five most important new houses in the world in 2014 by Wallpaper and was featured in the Royal Academy’s groundbreaking architecture exhibition Sensing Spaces the same year.


Sequoia Modern, Three Rivers, California 

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Set in a pristine and private forest close to Sequoia National Park, this strikingly modern glass house is in unique contrast as well as complete harmony with its environment. Constructed entirely of glass and steel, with polished concrete floors, the design is a masterful use of materials and architectural simplicity, with spare clean lines and an industrial aesthetic.  


Desert Gold, Death Valley, California 

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Designed by German architect Peter Strzebniok, this partially prefabricated home is a prototype, constructed in sections and brought to the site to be assembled. Comprised of two complete units, the interlocking sections are slightly raised above the earth, forming a geometric installation of clean lines, and energy-efficient wood paneling systems designed with dramatic gold color washes.  


Akureyri Bay Apartment, Akureyri, Iceland 

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This vacation home rental in northern Iceland was designed and built by Reykjavik-based architectural firm Arkís. Inspired by vastly different architectural influences including traditional Swiss mountain chalets, California ranches and Japanese minimalism, the home is constructed of larch wood exteriors and eco-friendly materials that blend into the environment.  


Villa Maria, Algarve, Portugal 

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Located within the wild coastal region of the Algarve’s Ria Formosa National Park, this boutique hotel was the winner of the 2017 Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence in Green Practices. The house was originally built in the 1940s by a beloved local fisherman, and has been transformed by his grandson, with the help of his sister – an architect with local design firm Par.  


Beachwood Mid-century, Los Angeles, California 

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Located on a ridge-top just under the famous Hollywood sign, in Beachwood Canyon, this beautifully crafted mid-century gem was created by Japanese architect Kazumi Adachi in 1958, with a subtle restoration by architect Josh Schwietzer. The restoration effortlessly integrates into the bones and form of the original structure, leaving its distinctive character intact.  


The Floating Farmhouse, Catskills, New York 

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Rescued from almost complete ruin, this early 19th-century manor home has undergone a remarkable restoration by designer Tom Givone. After more than four years of careful work and a complete interior demolition, the period character and bones of the original structure remain intact but with a renewed modern spirit.  


Sea View Villa, Sicily 

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This stunningly simple home, created by architect Maria Giuseppina Grasso Cannizzo, is nestled in the Val di Noto in Sicily. Designed as two separate structures and residences, it has a guest unit that slides on tracks. With walls of windows and whitewashed interiors, this cantilevered structure is full of natural light, allowing for the countryside to become an integral part of the house.  


Hen House, Isle of Skye, Scotland 

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This award-winning property is located on the Isle of Skye, the northernmost island of the Inner Hebrides – a remote and dramatically beautiful setting. The house was carefully designed to nestle into the landscape. A low-impact and architecturally striking holiday home, it has a long list of accolades, most notably as the first recipient of the ‘Saltire Medal’ at the Saltire Society’s 2010 Housing Design Awards.  


Villa Vals, Vals, Switzerland 

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Designed by architects Bjarne Mastenbroek and Christian Müller, this remarkable holiday home in Switzerland is an ingenious installation that combines equal parts architectural bravado and finesse. Embedded into a hillside with primarily subterranean living spaces, the effect is otherworldly but entirely in tune with the landscape.