Dwell’s Top 10 Outdoor Spaces of 2017

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By Dwell
These rooftops, courtyards, patios, and gardens are a breath of fresh air.

When designed well, the built environment refers back to our natural surroundings, bringing balance, awareness, and energy to our lives. The outdoor spaces presented below are vital to the day-to-day experience—in one instance, it alerts a family when it's time to get outside and hit the water; in another, it provides an entertainment space above the Manhattan skyline. Keep scrolling to explore the spectacular outdoor spaces that most inspired our readers this year. 

10. Technicolor Basketball Court in Paris

Sandwiched in-between a pair of brick apartment buildings in Paris lies a technicolor basketball court. Basketball fan and founder of the French fashion brand Pigalle, Stéphane Ashpool collaborated with Parisian creative agency Ill-Studio and Nike to make over the site. The basketball court’s walls and floor encircle players in saturated and smooth shades, where shots can be made off of a bright pink backboard. The overall effect is set with a vibrant gradient aesthetic featuring a color palette of high-contrast grape, deep yellows, and bold blues. 

Sandwiched in-between a pair of brick apartment buildings in Paris lies a technicolor basketball court. Basketball fan and founder of the French fashion brand Pigalle, Stéphane Ashpool collaborated with Parisian creative agency Ill-Studio and Nike to make over the site. The basketball court’s walls and floor encircle players in saturated and smooth shades, where shots can be made off of a bright pink backboard. The overall effect is set with a vibrant gradient aesthetic featuring a color palette of high-contrast grape, deep yellows, and bold blues. 

This compact extension at the rear of a suburban house in Melbourne, Australia, includes a ground-level garage on its street-facing side, a studio guest suite on the first floor, and a roof deck—all of which are designed to be versatile and convertible.

This compact extension at the rear of a suburban house in Melbourne, Australia, includes a ground-level garage on its street-facing side, a studio guest suite on the first floor, and a roof deck—all of which are designed to be versatile and convertible.

An architect renovates his penthouse residence on the roof of the historic Gilsey House in Manhattan’s NoMad district—adding height, space, and outdoor access. Connected by an exterior stone staircase, the rooftop level offers seating and dining areas and an outdoor kitchen.

An architect renovates his penthouse residence on the roof of the historic Gilsey House in Manhattan’s NoMad district—adding height, space, and outdoor access. Connected by an exterior stone staircase, the rooftop level offers seating and dining areas and an outdoor kitchen.

From the street view, an angular slatted facade conceals a home from the outside world while also carefully hinting at what's inside.  Behind those entry screens in Brisbane, Queensland, the three-level Australian home created by Bureau Proberts is finely attuned to its sloping site. A generous skylight over the front door opens the entryway to the sky, while substantial glazing in the master bedroom conveys the feeling of being perched high in the treetops.

From the street view, an angular slatted facade conceals a home from the outside world while also carefully hinting at what's inside.  Behind those entry screens in Brisbane, Queensland, the three-level Australian home created by Bureau Proberts is finely attuned to its sloping site. A generous skylight over the front door opens the entryway to the sky, while substantial glazing in the master bedroom conveys the feeling of being perched high in the treetops.

Austin-based firm Matt Fajkus Architecture designs a two-level garage and residence with a ground-floor space that was built to showcase the owner’s prized collection. Set on a 10,300-square-foot narrow lot in Austin, Texas, the Autohaus was created to devise a fully functional gallery-like space. With automobile upkeep and display as the starting point, Matt Fajkus Architecture designed an asymmetrical home that's set on a rectangular base with a 20-foot cantilevered second floor to house the living space. 

Austin-based firm Matt Fajkus Architecture designs a two-level garage and residence with a ground-floor space that was built to showcase the owner’s prized collection. Set on a 10,300-square-foot narrow lot in Austin, Texas, the Autohaus was created to devise a fully functional gallery-like space. With automobile upkeep and display as the starting point, Matt Fajkus Architecture designed an asymmetrical home that's set on a rectangular base with a 20-foot cantilevered second floor to house the living space. 

At the family home of an Israeli architect, modern and light-filled interiors enliven a brutalist, raw concrete structure. Located in the city of Ramat HaSharon near Tel Aviv, the home that Pitsou Kedem designed for himself and his family boasts a powerful and striking horizontal form with a low silhouette.

At the family home of an Israeli architect, modern and light-filled interiors enliven a brutalist, raw concrete structure. Located in the city of Ramat HaSharon near Tel Aviv, the home that Pitsou Kedem designed for himself and his family boasts a powerful and striking horizontal form with a low silhouette.

Not everyone goes to the Hamptons for the social scene. Some people still head to the East End of Long Island to engage with the natural environment, a seascape where the Atlantic Ocean meets expanses of pristine beach studded with tall grasses, rustic picket fences, and shingle-clad homes. George and Catherine, Manhattanites with a family that loves water sports, are some of those people. So when they decided to build the escape they had always imagined near one of the best spots for wind sports in the area, they called Paul Masi, of East Hampton-based Bates Masi + Architects. 

Not everyone goes to the Hamptons for the social scene. Some people still head to the East End of Long Island to engage with the natural environment, a seascape where the Atlantic Ocean meets expanses of pristine beach studded with tall grasses, rustic picket fences, and shingle-clad homes. George and Catherine, Manhattanites with a family that loves water sports, are some of those people. So when they decided to build the escape they had always imagined near one of the best spots for wind sports in the area, they called Paul Masi, of East Hampton-based Bates Masi + Architects. 

In central Argentina, the province of La Pampa is dominated by vast, grassy plains whose fertile soil supports myriad farms and ranches. Stretching out in all directions, the flatlands resemble an ocean in its sheer horizontality. When professional polo player Nacho Figueras—a champion of the sport and a longtime Ralph Lauren model—enlisted architect Juan Ignacio Ramos of Estudio Ramos to build a stable for 44 polo horses, the architect was sure to incorporate the region’s meditative flatness into the design.

In central Argentina, the province of La Pampa is dominated by vast, grassy plains whose fertile soil supports myriad farms and ranches. Stretching out in all directions, the flatlands resemble an ocean in its sheer horizontality. When professional polo player Nacho Figueras—a champion of the sport and a longtime Ralph Lauren model—enlisted architect Juan Ignacio Ramos of Estudio Ramos to build a stable for 44 polo horses, the architect was sure to incorporate the region’s meditative flatness into the design.

A laser-cut metal pergola anchors a tranquil garden near Los Angeles. While studying silk-screening in college, Lillian Montalvo was encouraged to test the limits of her imagination. She obliged, throwing dry spaghetti onto a table and watching as the pieces fell into a pleasing arrangement. That linear pattern, which she says evoked the "randomness" of nature, stuck with her.

A laser-cut metal pergola anchors a tranquil garden near Los Angeles. While studying silk-screening in college, Lillian Montalvo was encouraged to test the limits of her imagination. She obliged, throwing dry spaghetti onto a table and watching as the pieces fell into a pleasing arrangement. That linear pattern, which she says evoked the "randomness" of nature, stuck with her.

The Wall House in Cascais, a coastal town in an area known as the Portuguese Riviera, is an 11,840-square-foot home made with concrete, wood, and glass—and boasts a pair of large swimming pools on two levels. Designed by José Guedes Cruz, César Marques, and Marco Marinho of the Portugal-based firm Guedes Cruz Architects, The Wall House is laid out in an open-box plan, and is fitted with plenty of glass windows to enhance the synergy between its interior and exterior spaces. 

The Wall House in Cascais, a coastal town in an area known as the Portuguese Riviera, is an 11,840-square-foot home made with concrete, wood, and glass—and boasts a pair of large swimming pools on two levels. Designed by José Guedes Cruz, César Marques, and Marco Marinho of the Portugal-based firm Guedes Cruz Architects, The Wall House is laid out in an open-box plan, and is fitted with plenty of glass windows to enhance the synergy between its interior and exterior spaces. 

To see more of our Top 10 lists, click here.