Gravity-Defying Homes: 9 Global Marvels

Blog Post Image
Real Estate

Even those who wouldn’t consider themselves design enthusiasts have to admit that contemporary architecture is pretty easy to identify. No matter the style or location, residences built recently tend to feature anything from curved lines and unconventional volumes to asymmetrical shapes and open floor plans. And one aesthetically charged element that’s popping up in homes built within the last several years is a clear and intentional desire to defy gravity. From Melbourne, Australia, to Waccabuc, New York, architects are challenging Sir Isaac Newton’s discoveries in a big way. 

home on land

Melbourne, Australia

The View Hill House by Denton Corker Marshall does exactly what its name says it does: Offer a spectacular view of the hill—specifically the Yarra Valley winemaking region—on which it sits. Separately, the two shipping container-like pieces that comprise the View Hill House aren’t anything exceptional, but together, they create a risky architectural gem. One of the pieces is pre-rusted steel, and the other, which essentially dangles atop the one beneath, is clad in black aluminum.


home on land
Photo: Sandro Lendler

Opatija, Croatia

Most villas in the Opatija Riviera are built into the sweeping slopes, but the Nest and Cave House by Croatian architect Idis Turato is different—it’s completely hidden. That, however, was the architect’s intention. He built the house with only two structural elements, dislocating one so that anyone looking at the house from the front won’t be able to see that it’s on a sharp angle. And like many homes within the beach town, the Nest and Cave House is in constant communication with both sun and shade, creating intimate outdoor spaces depending on the time of day.


home on land

Toronto, Canada

The Cedarvale Ravine House by Drew Mandel Architects addresses programmatic building requirements, maximizes views of the nearby Cedarvale ravine, and offers a flood of natural light. On the first floor, a modulation of intimate interiors and courtyards lead to a glass-enclosed space at the rear of the property. The second floor, for its part, sits within a zinc-clad cantilevered structure, and it boasts views of the lap pool beneath. It’s modernism at its finest, to say the least.


home on land

Zakopane, Poland

Based in Kyiv, the architects at Yousupova created a masterpiece within the dense and mysterious forests of Zakopane, Poland. Though it’s highly contemporary with a cantilevered deck outfitted in reflective glass, the house nearly blends in with the surrounding mountain courtesy of its stone and wood composition.


home on landPhoto: Bruce Damonte

Atherton, California

Hidden behind a concrete wall that reveals itself after a long, winding drive, Stanley Saitowitz Natoma Architects’ Oz House consists of two L-shaped bars, one of which balances atop the other, creating sizable courtyards and overhangs. The house is a reduced expression of clear materials—mostly glass—and it was designed to look like it was built using only two massive shapes. The architects’s goal was to expand the realm of space and diminish the role of form.