When building or renovating a home, there are endless factors to consider that can come into play and influence the design—location, budget, materials, constraints of the original structure, and even zoning laws. While these 10 homes have many impressive design features that set them apart from the crowd, it's their unique facades that make a particularly memorable impression.
Architect: Russell N. Thomsen, Location: Saitama, Japan
The black facade of the Yatabes’ house may turn a darkly futuristic face to its suburban block, but behind it the house is full of light. In Saitama, a tightly packed neighborhood near Tokyo, the black metal screen affords the family privacy without sacrificing outdoor space.
Triangles are this modular prefabricated home’s leitmotiv, appearing in the cantilevered bedroom module and the steps approaching the entrance.
Architect: Arba, Location: Normandy, France
Arba, the architecture firm founded by Jean-Baptiste Barache and Sihem Lamine, designed a 1,786-square-foot residence for Dominique Jacquot 45 minutes outside Paris. The house is her sanctuary from city life. The architects used four varieties of wood in the A-frame with a most unique facade.
Architect Ben Waechter wrapped the upper floor of Nick Oakley’s house in inexpensive black corrugated steel. Waechter opened up the ground floor and added 800 square feet in the form of a second story that cantilevers over both the front and rear elevations. "Ben’s work has a humility about it: a sense of purity and functionality, and a simple architectural gesture that made it stick in my head," said Oakley.
Architect: Kem Studio, Location: Kansas City, Missouri
The house that Kem Studio designed for Sarah Magill on a narrow lot in Kansas City has a steel facade with reclaimed cypress cladding near the entrance. The entire structure sits atop a steel foundation set on concrete piers that were driven into solid stone.
This Victorian-era home in Melbourne, renovated by OOF! Architecture, maintains privacy from the street, but does so in an unusually "friendly" manner—with a giant brick wall that spells out "Hello," a collaboration with local artist Rose Nolan. The residents wanted their house to appeal to passersby, since it sits on a well-trafficked block near a café.
The facade of this house in Belgium consists of "knitted bricks" to offer maximum privacy, but also maximum light. "In this part of Belgium, 90 percent of the houses are built with brick, " says architect Tom Verschueren. "It's a classic material that we tried to use in House BVA in a totally different way."
Photo by Frederik Vercruysse
One of Rojkind’s first commissions, in 2001, was a rooftop apartment for a ballerina above her father’s 1960s-era house in the Mexico City suburb of Tecamachalco. Dissatisfied with the look of the Cor-Ten steel exterior, Rojkind hired auto-body workers to finish it with a coat of red automotive paint.
Architect: Mario Plasencia, Location: León, Mexico
La Aduana is an eight-unit apartment building made from 36 shipping containers. An exposed wooden stairwell creates a warm contrast with the concrete and metal used elsewhere.
Architect Rok Oman of OFIS Architects started the renovation of what would become Villa Criss-Cross by tackling a thorny site issue. Since it is located close to the street and perpendicular to the old Roman wall near Ljubljana's ancient fortress, zoning laws require buildings to be set four meters back from the street. By maintaining the original wall and adding steel panels, Oman grandfathered in the new structure and maintained the original orientation.