Architecture

The best houses of 2020

The best houses of 2020
The Anna Cabin, by Caspar Schols, is one of our picks for the best houses of 2020
The Anna Cabin, by Caspar Schols, is one of our picks for the best houses of 2020
View 47 Images
The Anna Cabin, by Caspar Schols, is one of our picks for the best houses of 2020
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The Anna Cabin, by Caspar Schols, is one of our picks for the best houses of 2020
Anna Stay, by Caspar Schols, includes a bed on the main floor and another on the upper mezzanine area, which is reached by removable ladder
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Anna Stay, by Caspar Schols, includes a bed on the main floor and another on the upper mezzanine area, which is reached by removable ladder
Anna Stay can be opened up to the elements when the weather suits
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Anna Stay can be opened up to the elements when the weather suits
Anna Stay
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Anna Stay can be delivered in flatpack form or as a built cabin and requires minimal foundations
Anna Stay's structure is inspired by railway buildings, which designer Caspar Schols says rely on the side walls for structural integrity
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Anna Stay's structure is inspired by railway buildings, which designer Caspar Schols says rely on the side walls for structural integrity
This prototype 3D-printed house was created by Kamp C and represents another step towards large-scale 3D-printed architecture
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This prototype 3D-printed house was created by Kamp C and represents another step towards large-scale 3D-printed architecture
The 3D-printed house includes a simple kitchenette
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The 3D-printed house includes a simple kitchenette
The 3D-printed house is the first we've seen to date with two floors
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The 3D-printed house is the first we've seen to date with two floors
The 3D-printed house has two floors
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The 3D-printed house has two floors
The 3D-printed house's interior decor is simple, leaving the 3D-printed concrete on display
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The 3D-printed house's interior decor is simple, leaving the 3D-printed concrete on display
House Inside a Ruin, by ORA, retains the ruined exterior of an old dilapidated building, but adds a modern inner shell made from insulated brick
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House Inside a Ruin, by ORA, retains the ruined exterior of an old dilapidated building, but adds a modern inner shell made from insulated brick
House Inside a Ruin is located in the Czech Republic
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House Inside a Ruin is located in the Czech Republic
House Inside a Ruin's interior features generous glazing
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House Inside a Ruin's interior features generous glazing
House Inside a Ruin includes four bedrooms
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House Inside a Ruin includes four bedrooms
House Inside a Ruin's interior decor is more modern than its exterior suggests and it has contemporary furniture and concrete finishes
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House Inside a Ruin's interior decor is more modern than its exterior suggests and it has contemporary furniture and concrete finishes
Union House, by Austin Maynard Architects, is located in Melbourne, Australia
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Union House, by Austin Maynard Architects, is located in Melbourne, Australia
Union House is situated in a cramped site in Melbourne, Australia
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Union House is situated in a cramped site in Melbourne, Australia
Union House was commissioned when the family's original home became too small for their needs
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Union House was commissioned when the family's original home became too small for their needs
Union House is very much designed with fun in mind and its second floor includes a net area and a climbing wall
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Union House is very much designed with fun in mind and its second floor includes a net area and a climbing wall
Gardenhouse, by MAD, aims to recreate the feel of a traditional Chinese hillside village in Beverly Hills
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Gardenhouse, by MAD, aims to recreate the feel of a traditional Chinese hillside village in Beverly Hills
Gardenhouse's villas include their own balconies and private outdoor living areas
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Gardenhouse's villas include their own balconies and private outdoor living areas
Gardenhouse includes two studios, eight condominiums, three townhouses, and five villas of differing sizes and shapes that share a uniform style
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Gardenhouse includes two studios, eight condominiums, three townhouses, and five villas of differing sizes and shapes that share a uniform style
Gardenhouse's interiors are light-filled and feature white walls and stone and wooden floors
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Gardenhouse's interiors are light-filled and feature white walls and stone and wooden floors
Gardenhouse is centered around a multi-level courtyard area which con
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Gardenhouse's courtyard includes a reflective pool and serves as a central meeting point for residents
XS House, by Interface Studio Architects, is located on a site that used to park two cars, measuring just 11 ft (3.3 m) in width
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XS House, by Interface Studio Architects, is located on a site that used to park two cars, measuring just 11 ft (3.3 m) in width
XS House was designed by Interface Studio Architects and fits a modern housing project into a cramped plot in Philadelphia
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XS House was designed by Interface Studio Architects and fits a modern housing project into a cramped plot in Philadelphia
XS House squeezes an amazing seven apartments onto a plot that was previously used to park two cars
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XS House squeezes an amazing seven apartments onto a plot that was previously used to park two cars
Despite its cramped dimensions, the interiors of XS House's apartments look very livable, with high ceilings and ample daylight, plus a minimalist interior decor that suits the small space
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Despite its cramped dimensions, the interiors of XS House's apartments look very livable, with high ceilings and ample daylight, plus a minimalist interior decor that suits the small space
130 William sees Sir David Adjaye team up with Aston Martin to design luxury homes for car enthusiasts
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130 William sees Sir David Adjaye team up with Aston Martin to design luxury homes for car enthusiasts
130 William, by Sir David Adjaye reaches a maximum height of 800 ft (244 m)
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130 William, by Sir David Adjaye, reaches a maximum height of 800 ft (244 m)
130 William
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130 William's Aston Martin-designed apartments include a large living and dining area with generous glazing, offering views of the city
130 William's Aston Martin-designed apartments' balconies are split into several areas
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130 William's Aston Martin-designed apartments' balconies are split into several areas
130 William's Aston Martin-designed homes come with an optional office/library
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130 William's Aston Martin-designed homes come with an optional office/library
Dolunay Villa is a rare private home project by Foster + Partners
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Dolunay Villa is a rare private home project by Foster + Partners
Dolunay Villa overlooks the Turkish coast
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Dolunay Villa overlooks the Turkish coast
Dolunay Villa's handcrafted crafted timber undulating roof was created in collaboration with Swiss firm Blumer Lehmann
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Dolunay Villa's handcrafted crafted timber undulating roof was created in collaboration with Swiss firm Blumer Lehmann
Much of Dolunay Villa's expansive glazing can be slid open to let in the breeze
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Much of Dolunay Villa's expansive glazing can be slid open to let in the breeze
Dolunay Villa's bathroom is inspired by a Turkish Bath
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Dolunay Villa's bathroom is inspired by a Turkish Bath
The Invisible House is constructed from steel, glazing, and concrete
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The Invisible House, by Tomas Osinski, blends into the desert with its reflective facade
The Invisible House has a large pool running most of its length
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The Invisible House has a large pool running most of its length
The Invisible House's bedrooms open up to the outside with sliding walls
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The Invisible House's bedrooms open up to the outside with sliding walls
The Invisible House's bedrooms allow visitors to wake up to views of the desert
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The Invisible House's bedrooms allow visitors to wake up to views of the desert
The Invisible House includes four bedrooms
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The Invisible House includes four bedrooms
MLK1101 Supportive Housing, by LOHA, provides a safe and affordable home to homeless people and other vulnerable groups
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MLK1101 Supportive Housing, by LOHA, provides a safe and affordable home to homeless people and other vulnerable groups
MLK1101 Supportive Housing has received LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) due to its energy-efficient design
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MLK1101 Supportive Housing has received LEED Gold certification (a green building standard) due to its energy-efficient design
MLK1101 Supportive Housing's residential units range in size from one to three bedrooms
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MLK1101 Supportive Housing's residential units range in size from one to three bedrooms
Inside MLK1101 Supportive Housing's shared community space
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Inside MLK1101 Supportive Housing's shared community space
View gallery - 47 images

From a new twist on a wooden cabin to an experimental 3D-printed concrete house, our selection of the best houses of 2020 showcases the 10 most interesting and well-designed examples of residential architecture we've seen this year.

We've been flexible with our definition of a "house" here in favor of highlighting a variety of outstanding projects, from small private homes to large residential buildings. Our picks are described below, but be sure to check out the gallery for a closer look at each one.

Anna Stay - Caspar Schols

Anna Stay's operable walls are slid open manually and have a locking system in place
Anna Stay's operable walls are slid open manually and have a locking system in place

The Anna Stay, by London-based Caspar Schols, is a stunning modern take on the classic wooden cabin and has walls that can slide apart to open it up to the outside, allowing its owners to embrace a semi-outdoor lifestyle or close themselves off completely in colder weather.

The interior of the cabin is mostly arranged on the ground floor, though a removable ladder also provides access to a secondary mezzanine bedroom.

3D-printed prototype house - Kamp C

This prototype 3D-printed house was created by Kamp C and represents another step towards large-scale 3D-printed architecture
This prototype 3D-printed house was created by Kamp C and represents another step towards large-scale 3D-printed architecture

3D printing quite possibly represents the future of residential architecture, allowing firms to let robots do most of the manual work. We're not quite at that point yet, but this 3D-printed prototype home represents a step in that direction.

Kamp C in Belgium used Europe's largest 3D printer to construct a two-story home. The build process went just like other 3D printing architecture projects and involved extruding a cement-like mixture out of a nozzle and building up the basic structure in layers until it was complete. Human laborers then came in and put the finishing touches in place, such as the roof. The interior is fully functional, though nobody is going to be living in it as it's for research purposes only.

House inside a Ruin - ORA

House Inside a Ruin, by ORA, retains the ruined exterior of an old dilapidated building, but adds a modern inner shell made from insulated brick
House Inside a Ruin, by ORA, retains the ruined exterior of an old dilapidated building, but adds a modern inner shell made from insulated brick

After being commissioned to turn an old dilapidated building in the Czech Republic into a residence, ORA briefly considered a typical restoration. However, the firm decided on a more radical approach instead, tearing down the interior and inserting a new modern home within.

The aptly named House Inside a Ruin retains the old exterior but inserts a shell made from insulated brick that serves as the interior. Structurally sound wooden beams and boards were used to create the ceiling. Though you can still clearly see the old structure in several places, the interior is comfortable, light-filled and spacious.

Union House - Austin Maynard Architects

Union House, by Austin Maynard Architects, updates an aging Australian home with a CLT extension and some fun additions
Union House, by Austin Maynard Architects, updates an aging Australian home with a CLT extension and some fun additions

Austin Maynard Architects has a lot of experience renovating old Australian homes to make them energy-efficient and suitable for modern families. With the Union House, the firm added novel extras along the way too, including a slide, nets, a climbing wall, and a hidden entrance.

The project centers around the installation of a large new CLT (cross-laminated timber) extension which now forms the main body of the home, allowing the family to continue to live comfortably in the house as their children grow.

Gardenhouse - MAD Architects

Gardenhouse, by MAD, aims to recreate the feel of a traditional Chinese hillside village in Beverly Hills
Gardenhouse, by MAD, aims to recreate the feel of a traditional Chinese hillside village in Beverly Hills

With its Gardenhouse, China's MAD Architects hoped to recreate the feeling of a traditional Chinese hillside village in Beverly Hills. The luxury housing project consists of a large base hosting retail space, a gym and homes. The base is covered with vines, and is one of the USA's largest green walls, according to MAD.

Gardenhouse includes two studios, eight condominiums, three townhouses, and five villas that share a uniform style, with a modern light-filled interior. They are centered around a courtyard area that features a reflective pool and greenery, and forms a gathering place for residents to meet.

XS House - Interface Studio Architects

XS House was designed by Interface Studio Architects and fits a modern housing project into a cramped plot in Philadelphia
XS House was designed by Interface Studio Architects and fits a modern housing project into a cramped plot in Philadelphia

Interface Studio Architects previously made our 2019 best of list for its innovative use of unusable inner-city space with its Tiny Tower and the firm has now repeated the trick with the XS House, which squeezes an impressive seven apartments onto a cramped inner-city plot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that was previously used to park two cars, measuring just 11 ft (3.3 m) in width.

Despite such cramped dimensions, the interiors of the apartments look surprisingly livable, with high ceilings and ample daylight, plus a minimalist interior decor that suits the small space. The project could potentially serve as a blueprint to put undesirable plots in other cities to good use as affordable housing.

130 William - Sir David Adjaye

130 William sees Sir David Adjaye team up with Aston Martin to design luxury homes for car enthusiasts
130 William sees Sir David Adjaye team up with Aston Martin to design luxury homes for car enthusiasts

Sir David Adjaye joined forces with British automotive giant Aston Martin to design five luxury homes for car lovers in Adjaye's almost-completed New York City skyscraper, 130 William.

The homes offer plush interiors with an automotive design influence. They are furnished with the Aston Martin Home Collection by Formitalia, with every piece made in Italy from materials like Nero Marquina marble and Italian oak. Each home also comes with a special edition Aston Martin DBX and the option to include a racing simulation room.

Dolunay Villa - Foster + Partners

Dolunay Villa is a rare example of a huge firm like Foster+ Partners designing a private home
Dolunay Villa is a rare example of a huge firm like Foster+ Partners designing a private home

The Dolunay Villa in Turkey's southwestern province of Muğla shows what happens when a huge firm like Foster + Partners deigns to design a private home.

The luxury residence takes its place well among the landscape with its undulating timber roof, while expansive glazing frames the view for those inside. The living and dining areas are to the west, offering superb views of the Aegean thanks to its generous glazing. Some of that glazing can be slid open too, allowing the breeze to permeate within.

Invisible House - Tomas Osinski

The Invisible House is constructed from steel, glazing, and concrete
The Invisible House, by Tomas Osinski, blends into the desert with its reflective facade

Located in the Californian desert, the Invisible House, by Tomas Osinski, is definitely one of the more unusual homes we've seen this year.

The house is partially raised over the ground on concrete stilts and juts out over the rocky landscape. It takes the form of a simple glass rectangle and is finished in Solarcool glass, which has a mirrored coating and helps keep the interior from being unduly warmed by the Sun. There are some nice features hidden away inside too, including a large pool area with a projector for movie screenings and four bedrooms that open to the outside.

MLK1101 Supportive Housing - Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects

MLK1101 Supportive Housing, by LOHA, provides a safe and affordable home to homeless people and other vulnerable groups
MLK1101 Supportive Housing, by LOHA, provides a safe and affordable home to homeless people and other vulnerable groups

The Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects-designed MLK1101 Supportive Housing in Los Angeles provides a safe and affordable home to homeless people and other vulnerable groups. The project also incorporates several energy-efficient design choices, such as solar hot water heating and a focus on natural lighting and ventilation.

It contains a total of 26 residential units ranging in size from one to three bedrooms. Each is equipped with its own kitchen, living spaces, and bathroom. There are also shared amenities like a kitchen and dining areas, group therapy and more.

View gallery - 47 images
3 comments
mediabeing
A friendly reminder that building the first house we see in the article, so close to the water, is a sure way for residents of the house to meet up with frogs, lizards, insect swarms and other crawly things they probably don't want to meet, up close and personal. Okay...as you were.
Nobody
The Anna Cabin should be a hit with mosquitoes and gnats everywhere.
PG
Invisible House, death trap for birds.
Leave wild nature to non-humans and live in urban or semi-urban areas.