Designed by Lenz Architects, the aptly-named Shell House looks like a squat turtle with its shell-like roof. The house is located on the outskirts of Almaty, Kazakstan, and can be closed-up to the outside to increase security and privacy.

Shell House measures a total floorspace of 400 sq m (4,305 sq ft), spread over two floors. Most of this is taken up by an expansive living and dining area, which is located towards the rear of the home.

The front of the house includes a music room, a bathroom and a kitchen. There's also a relaxation room, and spiral stairs lead up to the master and guest bedroom quarters.

The house is glazed and allows those inside to gaze out at the local wildlife. However, it also features a neat trick: when the occupants want some privacy – say the in-laws unexpectedly turn up, for example – a set of aluminum panels can be electronically activated. These panels/shutters drop down and cover the glazing completely, making it impossible to gain access or to tell whether anyone's home.

"The main aim of the architect was to create a separate, isolated and safe space, while making it possible to enjoy the wildlife," says Lenz Architects.

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