(Check out our complete collection of 70 Amazing Houses from Around the World.)
(images via: Docarmor.free.fr)
Castel Meur, also known as The House Between the Rocks or La Maison de Plougrescant, was built in 1861. It’s nestled between two natural granite pillars on the English Channel coast in Brittany, France. Those rocks and the waterside location make Castel Meur an extremely photogenic abode. The house became somewhat famous when postcards featuring a beautiful photograph of the property were sold in gift shops around the world. Unfortunately, tourists lacking respect for the residence have caused damage to the home and property, prompting the owner to prohibit commercial sale of images of the home.
(images via: e-Architect.co.uk)
This amazingly creative weekend beach getaway near Melbourne, Australia was dreamed up by McBride Charles Ryan Architects. The Australian firm based their design on the Klein bottle, a mathematical conceptual shape with no discernible interior and exterior sides. Although it sounds like an odd (not to mention impossible) concept for a home, they pulled it off brilliantly. The home’s black metal roof folds down in some places to change the shape of the home and form part of the exterior walls. The central courtyard and flexible living space make the occupants of this amazing house feel like they exist indoors and outdoors at the same time.
(images via: Robert Bruno)
Some of the most beautiful houses are the result of the owner’s direct involvement. So it is with Robert Bruno’s steel house, a creation that he’s been working on for more than three decades. The architectural sculptor began building his home near Lubbock, Texas in the mid-1970s. Today, its impressive form – part 1950s Chevy, part airplane, part sci-fi spaceship – rises tall above the surrounding landscape to give those inside a spectacular view of the nearby lake. The interior is reminiscent of a huge steel cave, filled with curves where one would expect angles.
(images via: Dome of a Home)
After a series of devastating hurricanes and tropical storms battered their home in the 1990s, Mark and Valerie Sigler decided that there must be a home design that would withstand the most severe Florida weather. Working with architect Jonathan Zimmerman, the Siglers brought their dome home to life. It’s a sturdy structure, but it also has its share of beauty and uniqueness. And if you’re ever in Pensacola Beach with $5600 a week to spare, the five-bedroom Dome of a Home is available for rent.
(image via: Queenodesign)
Although technically a block away from the beach and not right on it, these boat houses in Encinitas, California certainly embody the beach culture. Plus, the story behind how they got there is pretty interesting in itself. Entrepreneur and businessman Miles Minor Kellogg was ahead of his time in the 1910s and 1920s, building structures from recycled and reclaimed materials. After building a small silent movie theatre from the discarded top story of a hotel, Kellogg set his sights on building a home from reclaimed material. Since he’d always had an interest in boats, they became the focus of his project. He and his son, Miles Justin Kellogg, worked on the houses together until they were completed in the late 1920s. Recently, the Encinitas Preservation Society purchased the property on which the boats – now used as apartment buildings – sit.
(images via: Daily Mail)
This spectacular piece of architecture isn’t even built yet, but that didn’t bring down its price any. It recently sold for $14.4 million to an undisclosed buyer. The eco-friendly Orchid House, built on a lake in a privately-owned Cotswold (U.K.) nature reserve, is predicted to produce more energy than it uses. The house, which was designed by Sarah Featherstone, won’t be finished until approximately 2011. If the owners ever put it up for sale one has to wonder if anyone else would pay so much for something so strange.
The Mushroom House in the Black’s Beach area of La Jolla, California is one of those landscape features that you just get used to if you live nearby, but if you’re seeing it for the first time it strikes you as incredibly strange. Designed by Dale Naegle in the 1960s, the house was built for Sam Bell of Bell’s Potato Chips. The unusual design of the house was meant to withstand earthquakes and inclement weather, all while looking futuristic…well, futuristic for 1968, anyway.
(image via: Bornemania)
Among the most famous of all cliff houses are the hanging houses of Cuenca in Spain. This ancient village found itself with a need to expand in the 18th Century. Instead of building out, they built up. The resulting buildings look like they will topple down into the ravine any day, but they are apparently quite stable. These clifftop homes are now a tourist attraction for the town.
(images via: Coolboom)
When the owners of this piece of cliffside real estate wanted to build a home here, the architects nearly wouldn’t take it on. The stunning finished product features panoramic views of the sea enhanced by the unique geometric architecture. Located in Australia, the view from this living space is not for the faint of heart. The owners have remarked that during a storm, it seems that the waves will simply wash the structure away.
(image via: Bzmch)
Italy is full of picturesque seaside villages, but Manarola, Cinque Terre is certainly one of the most precariously placed. It’s hard to say just how old this village is, but ancient Roman texts have been found which celebrated the wines produced there. Today, you can still enjoy strolls through the vineyards or a walk on the Via dell’Amore (Path of Love).
(image via: Jacob Metcalf)
Along the limestone cliffs of Bonifacio in Corsica are a number of precariously perched buildings that look to be at risk of collapse any day. But the buildings hold strong against the constant battering of the Mediterranean Sea, and Bonifacio is a popular tourist attraction. Although huge numbers of tourists flock to the island city every year, Bonifacio has somehow maintained its charm and its decidedly French atmosphere.
If you are hardy and adventurous enough to trek high into the Himalayas, you will eventually spot one of the most breathtaking monasteries in the world. Phuktal Monastery, home to the Gelug (or Yellow Hat) Buddhist monks, is only reachable by foot. It is built into the side of a cliff at the mouth of a cave and contains a natural spring. It is amazing that this structure has existed as long as it has, being constructed of mud bricks, stones, and sticks.
(image via: Ajuntament de Castellfollit de la Roca)
The tiny town of Castellfollit de la Roca takes up less than one square kilometer in Catalonia. The houses and other buildings are built right up to the edge of the cliff on which the town is situated. The basalt cliff was formed from ancient lava flows and is over 50 meters high and nearly a kilometer long. The spectacular vista is a favorite of photographers and painters everywhere.
It would be impossible to gather a collection of precarious dwellings without a mention of the Meteora monasteries in Greece. Meteora translates literally to “hovering in the air.” They were built hundreds of years ago by monks who initially lived in caves in the area. During the times of Turkish invasions and occupation, the monks climbed higher and higher, finally building their monasteries atop the tall rocks. Although they were once accessible only by climbing the rock faces, the monasteries can now be reached by roads and steps.