Architecture

The best houses of 2019

The best houses of 2019
The Arkup #1, a luxury floating home that can raise itself on hydraulic stilts, is one of our favorite houses of 2019
The Arkup #1, a luxury floating home that can raise itself on hydraulic stilts, is one of our favorite houses of 2019
View 64 Images
Villa Troglodyte is a luxury home built into a cliff face
1/64
Villa Troglodyte is a luxury home built into a cliff face
Visitors enter Villa Troglodyte into a pool/reception area. A car garage with electric charging station is also nearby
2/64
Visitors enter Villa Troglodyte into a pool/reception area. A car garage with electric charging station is also nearby
Villa Troglodyte's lower area is its most impressive and is meant to bring to mind an underground lake
3/64
Villa Troglodyte's lower area is its most impressive and is meant to bring to mind an underground lake
Villa Troglodyte's second floor features a kitchen and dining area, living room, and its master bathroom
4/64
Villa Troglodyte's second floor features a kitchen and dining area, living room, and its master bathroom
Goldsmith Street is a superb example of sustainable and affordable social housing
5/64
Goldsmith Street is a superb example of sustainable and affordable social housing
Goldsmith Street won the Stirling Prize, which is Britain's most prestigious architecture award
6/64
Goldsmith Street won the Stirling Prize, which is Britain's most prestigious architecture award
Goldsmith Street consists of a total of 105 houses
7/64
Goldsmith Street consists of a total of 105 houses
Goldsmith Street includes several safe areas for kids to meet and play
8/64
Goldsmith Street includes several safe areas for kids to meet and play
Goldsmith Street's black roof tiles nod to the city's longstanding Dutch trading links and its clay bricks are similar to the ones used in the surrounding Victorian homes
9/64
Goldsmith Street's black roof tiles nod to the city's longstanding Dutch trading links and its clay bricks are similar to the ones used in the surrounding Victorian homes
The Quadrant House's moving terrace is operated by switch
10/64
The Quadrant House's moving terrace is operated by switch
Quadrant House's moving terrace runs on a track buried in the ground
11/64
Quadrant House's moving terrace runs on a track buried in the ground
Another shot of Quadrant House's moving terrace changing position
12/64
Quadrant House's moving terrace changing position
Quadrant House's moving terrace from the inside
13/64
Quadrant House's moving terrace from the inside
Quadrant House is located in a suburban area of central Poland
14/64
Quadrant House is located in a suburban area of central Poland
Quadrant House's moving terrace travels between its living room and spa
15/64
Quadrant House's moving terrace travels between its living room and spa
Black Barn measures 322 sq m (3,465 sq ft)
16/64
Black Barn measures 322 sq m (3,465 sq ft)
Black Barn features a tapering roofline
17/64
Black Barn features a tapering roofline
Visitors to Black Barn are greeted by eye-catching timber scissor trusses
18/64
Visitors to Black Barn are greeted by eye-catching timber scissor trusses
Black Barn's upper floor hosts the open living areas, while the more private bedrooms and bathrooms are on the lower floor
19/64
Black Barn's upper floor hosts the open living areas, while the more private bedrooms and bathrooms are on the lower floor
Black Barn's living room is open and light-filled
20/64
Black Barn's living room is open and light-filled
Black Barn is a modern barnhouse that runs fully off-the-grid with solar power and a bio-diesel generator
21/64
Black Barn is a modern barnhouse that runs fully off-the-grid with solar power and a bio-diesel generator
JD Composites' Beach House was built using more than 600,000 recycled plastic bottles
22/64
JD Composites' Beach House was built using more than 600,000 recycled plastic bottles
Beach House's walls consist of prefabricated panels that were made by melting down the plastic bottles
23/64
Beach House's walls consist of prefabricated panels that were made by melting down the plastic bottles
The Beach House is hurricane resistant
24/64
The Beach House is hurricane resistant
 Beach House is located in Nova Scotia, Canada 
25/64
 Beach House is located in Nova Scotia, Canada 
Beach House's prefabricated panels also provide the home with protection from moisture and mildew
26/64
Beach House's prefabricated panels provide the home with excellent protection from moisture and mildew
Beach House features a large modern kitchen and open living room
27/64
Beach House features a large modern kitchen and open living room
Though it's built using recycled plastic bottles, Beach House's interior looks much like any other home of its size and style
28/64
Though it's built using recycled plastic bottles, Beach House's interior looks much like any other home of its size and style
Beach House features three large bedrooms and two bathrooms
29/64
Beach House features three large bedrooms and two bathrooms
The Arkup #1's upstairs includes four bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom
30/64
The Arkup #1's upstairs includes four bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom
The Arkup #1's four bedrooms overlook the water
31/64
The Arkup #1's four bedrooms overlook the water
The Arkup #1's living room
32/64
The Arkup #1's living room
The Arkup #1's stilts can be used to lift it above the waves
33/64
The Arkup #1's stilts can be used to lift it above the waves
Top-down view of the Arkup #1's living room
34/64
Top-down view of the Arkup #1's living room
View towards the Arkup #1's living room
35/64
View towards the Arkup #1's living room
The Arkup #1's kitchen
36/64
The Arkup #1's kitchen
The Arkup #1 is a two floor floating home
37/64
The Arkup #1 is a two floor floating home
The Arkup #1's living room
38/64
The Arkup #1's living room
Tiny Tower measures 38 ft (11.5 m) in height
39/64
Tiny Tower measures 38 ft (11.5 m) in height
Tiny Tower, which is owned by Callahan Ward Companies, shoehorns a 1,250-sq-ft home into a 12 x 29-ft plot in Philadelphia's Brewerytown neighborhood
40/64
Tiny Tower, which is owned by Callahan Ward Companies, shoehorns a 1,250-sq-ft home into a 12 x 29-ft plot in Philadelphia's Brewerytown neighborhood
Tiny Tower measures 1,250 sq ft (116 sq m) 
41/64
Tiny Tower measures 1,250 sq ft (116 sq m) 
Tiny Tower's kitchen and dining room are in the basement
42/64
Tiny Tower's kitchen and dining room are in the basement
Tiny Tower's interior is arranged around five floors, plus a rooftop terrace
43/64
Tiny Tower's interior is arranged around five floors, plus a rooftop terrace
Tiny Tower's two bedrooms include an adjoining bathroom
44/64
Tiny Tower's two bedrooms include an adjoining bathroom
St Andrews Beach House is located in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, in Australia
45/64
St Andrews Beach House is located in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, in Australia
St Andrews Beach House has an open interior layout
46/64
St Andrews Beach House has an open interior layout
St Andrews Beach House's interior looks very light-filled and open
47/64
St Andrews Beach House's interior looks very light-filled and open
St Andrews Beach House opens up to the outside with bifold doors
48/64
St Andrews Beach House opens up to the outside with bifold doors
St Andrews Beach House's upstairs consists of bedrooms that are divided by curtains
49/64
St Andrews Beach House's upstairs consists of bedrooms that are divided by curtains
St Andrews Beach House's living area
50/64
St Andrews Beach House's living area
St Andrews Beach House is located in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, in Australia
51/64
St Andrews Beach House is located in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, in Australia
St Andrews Beach House is a very appealing beach home made from timber
52/64
St Andrews Beach House is a very appealing beach home made from timber
St Andrews Beach House's upstairs can also be used as a games room when the extra space isn't needed for guests
53/64
St Andrews Beach House's upstairs can also be used as a games room when the extra space isn't needed for guests
This 3D-printed housing project, which was created in partnership with Icon and Échale, is located in Tabasco, southeastern Mexico
54/64
This 3D-printed housing project, which was created in partnership with Icon and Échale, is located in Tabasco, southeastern Mexico
The 3D-printed homes include two bedrooms each
55/64
The 3D-printed homes include two bedrooms each
New Story has begun work on a 3D-printed low-cost housing development in Mexico
56/64
New Story has begun work on a 3D-printed low-cost housing development in Mexico
The families who will live in the 3D-printed homes were asked for feedback on what kind of homes they'd like to live in
57/64
The families who will live in the 3D-printed homes were asked for feedback on what kind of homes they'd like to live in
The 3D-printed homes include water and electrical hookups
58/64
The 3D-printed homes include water and electrical hookups
The 3D-printed homes include two bedrooms each
59/64
The 3D-printed homes include two bedrooms each
The Arkup #1, a luxury floating home that can raise itself on hydraulic stilts, is one of our favorite houses of 2019
60/64
The Arkup #1, a luxury floating home that can raise itself on hydraulic stilts, is one of our favorite houses of 2019
Cork House is a sustainable house made from 1,268 blocks of cork
61/64
Cork House is a sustainable house made from 1,268 blocks of cork
Cork House's interior measures 44 sq m (473 sq ft)
62/64
Cork House's interior measures 44 sq m (473 sq ft)
Cork House takes its place well in the grounds of an old English mill
63/64
Cork House takes its place well in the grounds of an old English mill
Cork House has ample natural light inside thanks to generous glazing and large skylights
64/64
Cork House has ample natural light inside thanks to generous glazing and large skylights

Residential architecture is one of the most diverse areas we cover. Reflecting this, our selection of 2019's best houses runs the gamut from a multi-million dollar floating home to low-cost social housing. Read on to see our favorite homes of the year.

Villa Troglodyte - Jean-Pierre Lott Architecte

Villa Troglodyte is a luxury home built into a cliff face
Villa Troglodyte is a luxury home built into a cliff face

The most unusual home we've covered in some time, Jean-Pierre Lott Architecte's rock-like Villa Troglodyte is built into a cliff face in Monaco and at first glance appears to be part of the natural topography.

The luxury residence has a cave-like interior with a reception room and swimming pool, living and dining areas, and three bedrooms, each of which has an en-suite bathroom. There are few windows in the home, so most natural light comes from a large skylight. Sustainable additions such as solar panels, greywater recycling, and cork insulation help reduce its energy use.

Goldsmith Street - Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley

Goldsmith Street is a superb example of sustainable and affordable social housing
Goldsmith Street is a superb example of sustainable and affordable social housing

Norwich, UK's Goldsmith Street, by Mikhail Riches and Cathy Hawley, is a housing project consisting of 105 homes for low-income families that offers an excellent example of how to do social housing right.

With an attractive terraced design that helps it blend in with traditional architecture in adjacent areas, as well as a layout that encourages safe play between neighborhood kids, the project is also sustainable and received the stringent Passivhaus green building rating. Little wonder it won the Stirling Prize, which is Britain's most prestigious architecture award, from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

Quadrant House - KWK Promes

Quandrant House features a movable terrace that's installed on a track system
Quandrant House features a movable terrace that's installed on a track system

KWK Promes is one of Europe's most interesting creators of residential architecture and its Quadrant House in central Poland is another highlight. The L-shaped luxury home features a movable terrace that, with the push of a button, travels sedately on a track system embedded into the ground.

Aside from its novel terrace, Quadrant House consists of a living room and spa, plus a garage, kitchen and a dining area. There are also three bedrooms upstairs.

Black Barn - Studio Bark

Black Barn is a modern barnhouse that runs fully off-the-grid with solar power and a bio-diesel generator
Black Barn is a modern barnhouse that runs fully off-the-grid with solar power and a bio-diesel generator

Studio Bark's contemporary take on a traditional barn-style house in Suffolk, England, has been designed to resemble the local agricultural buildings so as to take its place well among the rural landscape.

Named Black Barn, the home runs fully off-the-grid with solar panels and a backup bio-diesel generator. Its exterior is part-finished in locally-sourced timber charred using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban method and its interior is no less striking too, with generous glazing and timber scissor trusses defining the second-floor living room and kitchen. Private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms are less visible and installed on the first floor.

Beach House - JD Composites

JD Composites' Beach House was built using more than 600,000 recycled plastic bottles
JD Composites' Beach House was built using more than 600,000 recycled plastic bottles

Canadian firm JD Composites constructed a home in Nova Scotia that makes good use of other people's trash – specifically, over 612,000 recycled plastic bottles.

Named Beach House, its walls consist of prefabricated panels that were made by melting down the bottles. You might wonder if this would affect structural integrity somehow, but the home is actually so well made that it's rated to stand up to extreme hurricane-force winds. Its interior features an open layout with large living room and kitchen, as well as three spacious bedrooms.

Arkup #1 - Arkup

The Arkup #1 is a luxury floating home that can raise itself on hydraulic stilts
The Arkup #1 is a luxury floating home that can raise itself on hydraulic stilts

The Arkup #1 is an amazing US$5.5 million floating house that boasts solar power, rainwater collection systems, stabilizing hydraulic stilts, and its own engines.

Designed by Dutch architecture firm Waterstudio.NL, the ultra-luxury houseboat's stilts can be used to lift it above the waves. It's also rated to withstand category 4 hurricane winds and packs tons of high-tech radio and TV technology. The interior has an open-plan ground floor layout with lounge, dining area, kitchen, and a bathroom. There are also four bedrooms, each boasting an en-suite bathroom.

Tiny Tower - Interface Studio Architects

Tiny Tower is designed to fit into small awkward city plots that are usually
Tiny Tower is designed to fit into small awkward city plots that are usually too awkward to build on

Many cities are filled with awkward little plots that aren't suitable for building a standard house on, but Interface Studio Architects has designed a compact home that could potentially put them to good use.

The Tiny Tower fits into a 12 x 29-ft (3.6 x 8.8-m) space and its interior is spread over five floors. The firm drew inspiration from a skyscraper during the design process and the home is organized as such, albeit on a far smaller scale. While there are obvious issues with having to walk up and down so many stairs to get around the home, it's a fascinating idea and snagged a American Institute of Architects (AIA) Housing Award.

St Andrews Beach House - Austin Maynard Architects

St Andrews Beach House is a very appealing beach home made from timber
St Andrews Beach House is a very appealing beach home made from timber

Australia's Austin Maynard Architects is perhaps best known for its energy-efficient renovations of existing homes, but with St Andrews Beach House it had a chance to start from scratch.

The attractive tubular beach house features an open interior layout, with its ground floor consisting of a kitchen, living and dining space, a bathroom, and a laundry area. A spiral staircase is placed in the center of the home and leads upstairs to the bedrooms and another bathroom. It's also topped by solar panels and rainwater collection systems.

3D-printed neighborhood - New Story

New Story has begun work on a 3D-printed low-cost housing development in Mexico
New Story has begun work on a 3D-printed low-cost housing development in Mexico

New Story has been on a mission to create affordable 3D-printed homes for some time now and the non-profit recently unveiled a burgeoning neighborhood in rural Mexico that houses people in extreme poverty who used to live in dangerous makeshift shelters.

Only two of 50 homes are completed as of writing, so the project still has a long way to go before we can definitively declare it a success, but that said, it shows huge promise. Each house is divided into two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom.

Cork House - Matthew Barnett Howland, with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton

Cork House is a sustainable house made from 1,268 blocks of cork
Cork House is a sustainable house made from 1,268 blocks of cork

Cork House, by Matthew Barnett Howland, with Dido Milne and Oliver Wilton, is a sustainable house located in the grounds of an old English mill that's made almost entirely from cork by-product from the forestry and bottle stopper industries. Every building component used in the Eton home's construction can be reused or recycled.

Its interior is warm and snug, with generous glazing, including several skylights, installed to ensure natural light permeates within. The project won RIBA's Stephen Lawrence Prize, which encourages new and experimental architecture projects built to a relatively low budget.

That rounds out our pick of the best houses of 2019. Head to the gallery for more photos and information on each one.

1 comment
FabianLamaestra
I have seen one of these "Tiny Towers" in the neighborhood where the Google HQ campus is located in California.