Background: The roof of this architectural masterpiece looks like a giant flower with six petals, each of which covers a different section of the home. A curved swimming pool works its way through the house before culminating as a small pond stocked with fish and vegetation in the backyard.Why Its Unique: Architect firm Mareines + Patalano designed the interior of this house to be free of hallways, providing ample space for the beach winds to blow through. The idea of hallways stems from production homebuilding, which has so dominated our environment and market place that people see them as a standard, says Peter Koliopoulos, an architect with 26 years of experience and founder of Arizona-based Circle West Architects. That is really unfortunate because great spaces are developed in a way that this home has been developed. "
Background: This octagonal house can rotate a full 360 degrees with the touch of a few buttons.Why Its Unique: A rotating drive consisting of 32 outrigger wheels and powered by two 500-watt electric motors are used to spin the house on demand, a process that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Geothermal heating keeps the house at a steady 71.6 F, and the electrical wiring and plumbing are centralized so that they dont interfere with the houses ability to move. The entire cost of the project was on par with the cost of a non-rotating house of comparable size.
Background: This seashell-shaped home was completed in 2006. The stone steps running along the shrubs lead to the front door, which blends into the mosaic fa?ade. Why Its Unique: Architect Javier Sensonian practices what he calls bio-architecture, a style that has led him to design buildings shaped like snakes, whales and several other creatures. The Nautilus was created to imitate a crustaceans shell, and its cavernous interior is filled with vegetation and small trees. Its not common that you would see a home of this design ascetic, Koliopoulos says. However, its very enlightening and something that we can all learn from.
Background: Gigaplex Architects created this unusual and award-winning weekend home in 2006. Why Its Unique: This house was created by joining together two corrugated grain silos, the largest of which has a diameter of 27 feet. This is an approach that is akin to sustainability, Koliopoulos says. This silo home is a lot of fun and is a neat way to look at an existing product in a creative way. With a modest size of 1800 square feet, the designers saved space by placing the beds in cubbyholes that are cut into walls, each equipped with their own mini-entertainment systems.
Background: Artist and architect Robert Bruno has been at work on his steel home since 1974. Bruno has said that he wants the shape of the structure to be somewhere between animal and machine. Why Its Unique: Most homes have an initial skeleton that is built upon throughout the construction process, but Bruno has approached this home like a sculpture, building it on the fly and making constant modifications. Koliopoulos points out that the four legs and cantilevered design minimize the structures impact by not disrupting the earth as much as a typical home design would have. Estimated weight of the structure is 110 tons.
Background: Ed Pedin purchased this defunct missile silo in 1983, but it took about a decade of renovations to make it a livable home. Pumping out more than 8 feet of rainwater that accumulated while the site was inactive was one of many makeover challenges. Why Its Unique: Not many homeowners can say their house once stored a four-megaton nuclear warhead. What was once the launch control station, he says, is now a cozy a living space. Transforming a nuclear launch pad into a residential castle has lots of benefits, like an 11,000-square-foot garage and a 1700-foot-long airstrip, which came in particularly useful when Pedin was experimenting with DIY ultra light air craft. Since the completion of Subterra Castle, Pedin has become a mogul of sorts, creating 20th Century Castles LLC, a real estate firm specializing in converting missile silos.
Background: This traditional farmhouse was created by London-based dRRM Architects with one major mechanical surprise. Why Its Unique: The 20-ton outer shell of this home can be retracted in six minutes, revealing a second, mostly glass, inner shell. Power comes from four 12-volt batteries which run a motor that pulls small wheels, built into the timber shell, along an old set of railroad tracks. This feature gives the owners control over how the house interacts with the surrounding environment, allowing them to make adjustments as seasonal temperatures and light cycles change.
Background: This was the home and studio of Terry Brown, an architect who died in 2008. Brown, who was a professor at the University of Cincinnatis College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, built the home between 1992 and 2006, bringing in students, on occasion, to contribute to the project.Why Its Unique: Undulating wood work, bizarre shapes and an array of materials come together to form a cohesive, albeit zany, structure. This isnt something you draw up and say go build it, Koliopoulos tells PM. When youre doing something this custom, youre fabricating and designing simultaneously in the field. The fantastical design doesnt stop at the front door. The interior is adorned with angular cabinets and multicolored rock walls. This is highly personal and artistic ? its just a different way of living and thinking, Koliopoulos says.
Background: Designer Antti Lovag long rebelled against traditional structures, and the Bubble Castle is a perfect example of his radical approach to rethinking the built environment. The bulbous compound sits on the southwest coast of France. Why Its Unique: There are no sharp angles or straight lines in this unusual design. Lovag unified the home with its natural surrounding by bringing outdoor elements inside, including palm trees and a waterfall. This home is incorporating these outdoor rock croppings in a way that links them to the overall bubble concept, Koliopoulos says. The house has already been deemed a historic monument by Frances Ministry of Culture, despite the fact that its not even 50 years old.
Background: This beach house, which was designed be the firm McBride Charles Ryan, was named the worlds best home at the 2009 World Architecture Festival awards. Why Its Unique: A Klein Bottle is a complex mathematical concept that involves folding a cylinder into itself in order to create an unusual, spiraling form. This notion was the driving force behind the Klein Bottle House, which appears to bring the interior out to the exterior and vice versa. A steel frame was layered with cement and sheet metal, while the architects created a courtyard at the center of the house to allow winds to easily pass through.