These waterside homes are perfect for city dwellers
Want splendid, watery isolation, within reach of an Uber? Then these are the architectural retreats for you
When we picture an idyllic, isolated retreat, there’s often the sound of water in the background, be it a gurgling brook, swans on a lake, or the faint crash of the waves. However, not every perfectly isolated, waterside home needs to be hundreds of miles from a big city, as our new book, Living on Water makes clear. Here are five ideally suited to city slickers.
Skywood House (Graham Philips), Middlesex, UK 2013 This sleek, minimalist, late 20th century home looks as if it might be nestled in the hills of southern California, but it actually lies just within the M25, Greater London’s motorway ring road. Positioned between a large swimming pool and an artificial lake, the house is, in essence, a large-scale exploration of geometric space, glass, and the ambiguity of reflected surfaces, all within easy reach of Europe’s most connected city.
Florida Beach House (Iredale Pedersen Hook Architects), Palm Beach, Australia, 2011 Though it’s called the Florida Beach House, this modern seaside home, actually lies just under an hour’s drive north of Sydney, Australia’s largest city. A large sculptural roof with undulating peaks and troughs covers the sprawling home, the overhang of which is proportioned to keep the summer sun at bay while allowing in low-level winter sun.
Seaside House (Gray Organschi Architecture), Shelter Island, NY, USA, 2011 Admittedly, Shelter Island might be two and a half hour’s drive from Manhattan, at the far end of Long Island. However, the contrast between big city and natural wilderness couldn’t be greater. This compact house is positioned on a bank of sand dunes, close to the water’s edge. A series of terraces gather around a narrow pool, which faces out toward the bay and is screened from public view by plantings of native grasses.
Domus Aurea (Alberto Campo Baeza and GLR Arquitectos), Monterrey, Mexico, 2016 This pristine residence lies in the centre of Monterrey, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León. The light-filled residence has been designed as a contemporary homage to Luis Barragán, the late Mexican architect who has come to symbolize aspects of the nation’s architectural character. Colored a pristine white both inside and out, aside from the grand statement of a single golden surface, the house is a manifestation of a rather doctrinal way of living, defined by clean, orthogonal lines and a profound purity of space. Enclosed by a wall, an aperture allows for views toward the urban environment beyond.
Villa Överby (John Robert Nilsson Arkitektkontor), Värmdö, Stockholm, Sweden, 2009 Villa Överby is a Swedish summerhouse located in Värmdö, part of the Stockholm archipelago, which is less than an hour from the Swedish capital’s centre. Built upon stone, which itself is anchored to the bedrock beneath, the house employs an elementary material palette of light-colored, durable materials. Limestone from Gotland, white ash, and pristine white surfaces combine to create an architecture that stands—in the middle of natural wilderness—as testament to the technical prowess of man-made construction.
For more beautiful waterside real estate, order a copy of Living on Water here.