Top 9 Dwellings of 2020

Top 9 Dwellings of 2020

By Ian Zunt
The homes nominated for this year’s Dwell Design Awards represent the best in creative, context-driven design.

Culled from thousands of projects featured by Dwell this year, the nominees for Best Dwelling in the 2020 Dwell Design Awards span Brazil to Australia, South Africa to Japan—and are ingenious expressions of their locales and homeowners’ needs. 

Get to know the residences below, then cast your vote for Best Dwelling by December 16.

A Daring Home Clad in Shining Copper Armor Fends Off Natural Disasters

When Cathie and David Partridge set out to build their own home in Southern California, they sought to create a contemporary dwelling that responded to their love of art and design. They wanted it to be open and airy, have a connection with the outdoors, and celebrate natural materials. It was also essential that the home accommodate the couple’s extensive art collection, which they had amassed over three decades.

The geometric shape of the roof was driven by the desire to capture a "perspective view" out into the landscape, through both windows and skylights. "The volumes of the roof extend that view out into the landscape," says architect Peter Tolkin. "The angle and shape of these various views were all connected, which is how the shape of the roof structure got produced." As a result, each volume has a unique shape and section.

Built for a scholar, Casa Biblioteca is a sanctuary for reading, stargazing, and enjoying a cigar or two.

The living room is the largest and brightest space of the home. A bisecting staircase leads to the bedroom, kitchen, and living/dining room. As per the client’s desire for privacy and discretion, the furnishings have been staged by Etel Design.

On a rustic strip of coastline near Puerto Escondido, a couple give their designers permission to do less.

Aranza de Ariño and Claudio Sodi gave the architects at S-AR carte blanche to design the 850-square-foot beach retreat. The studio delivered an open structure that frames its natural surroundings.

Camouflaged by a living roof, this sunken hideaway in Karuizawa has a study that peeks out at the surrounding foliage.

Materials for the interior were chosen to foster a relaxed vacation home atmosphere. Teak floors and pine beams create a warmth and easiness in the main living space, while helping to establish a natural dialogue with the forested landscape.

Chenchow Little architects devise a wondrous and efficient home for a family of five in Sydney.

The curved form of the stair and the railing reference the arched windows and some of the interior walls.

Inspired by ancient ruins, Frankie Pappas crafts a green-roofed, brick guesthouse that connects deeply with nature.

A long, timber deck extends through the tree canopy at House of the Big Arch. As House of the Tall Chimneys has only a bedroom/living space and a bathroom, all other activities, such as cooking and dining, takes place at House of the Big Arch.

An indoor/outdoor courtyard allows tree branches to graze the ceiling of this narrow Osaka residence.

On the opposite side of the courtyard are the dining room and kitchen.

The Lima residence meets local style mandates by elevating historic forms to a whole new level.

Homeowners Luciano Bedoya and Liya Moya worked with interior designer Augusta Pastor on the furnishings. The Ghost sofa is by Paola Navone for Gervasoni, the Beni Ourain rug is from Mascarpone Originale, the About A Lounge 92 chair is by Hay, and the coffee table is by Primas.

A house in Sydney combats climate change with its own ecosystem.

The sofa in the living room is vintage and the Innate coffee table is by Jon Goulder. The painting is by Australian artist Simon DeGroot, and the ceramic pot is by Caroline Bourke from Spence and Lyda.

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