Houses that co-exist with nature

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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The presence of nature within man-made structures is something that evokes strong feelings of something unique, special and respectful having been created. Architecture is increasingly looking for ways to blend the new with the natural and not just by incorporating green technology, but by utilising all types of terrain. Of course, modern construction trying to blend with nature and its inherent beauty will not always make for an easy or straightforward build, especially when the environment itself needs to be preserved, while added to.

Urban dwelling has lead to the pace of life increasing for many people, which in turn has highlighted an innate desire to return to a slower rhythm, by living within nature itself. Take a look at these utterly astonishing buildings and appreciate the cohesion of nature and modern construction.

Mirrored marvel

Wow! This utterly astounding building can be found in southern Italy and is a strange combination of both a shrinking violet and an ostentatious creation. Though on paper this house should scream 'look at me', because of the inspired use of mirror tiles on the front of the property, it almost totally blends away, out of sight. By reflecting the natural landscape, the house is essentially ensconced within it and offers beautiful, panoramic views. This really does make us ask where nature ends and design begins. Amazing!

Through the looking glass

Inside the mirror house we find a vastly comfortable interior that favours a white and wood design aesthetic. With such amazing views on offer, a simple and pared back interior makes perfect sense, as the view essentially becomes all the entertainment and comfort you need. The sliding wood panel allows for privacy when you want it, but also open plan living when it suits and this versatility and adaptability is a concept drawn straight from nature itself. An utterly incredible building, this house offers tangible connections to nature and is truly inspirational.

Wood on the waterfront

This pier in the Lofoten region of Norway has undergone a serious image overhaul since the 1900s. An important piece of the local heritage, it was renovated and given a new lease of life, as this spectacular terraced installation. People can often be seen relaxing on the wood, or sitting atop and fishing, but what we are really taken by is just how lovely the contrast of the honey-coloured wood against the rugged dark stone is. Absolutely beautiful and a lovely harmony of two natural elements.

Peek inside

Go inside the pier installation and you are met with a warm space, entirely finished in wood. The polygon window allows for a wonderful view of the river, while the roof and walls make playful use of unusual angles and shapes. Thanks to the high percentage of glazing that has been included, the space feels airy and is flooded with natural light, while the integral woodburner helps to stave off chilly breezes. A truly unique installation, the blending of two natural materials has worked so well, resulting in a piece of architecture that is as unusual as it is harmonious.

Hidden in the hillside

South Korea's professional contractor, Just-In House, offers housing solutions in areas that are at the mercy of difficult terrain. With 70% of Korea comprising of mountainous ground, such innovations are not only welcome, but entirely necessary. Dodangri House, seen here, has been designed to act as a weekend cottage and has taken advantage of what the natural surroundings can offer it. The ground has been used as natural insulation for the structure, as the soil maintains a temperature of 25 degrees, even in winter. With plenty of trails for walking, the property has proven to be very popular and by including as much glazing as they have, the architects have seamlessly brought the outdoors into this amazing mountainside structure.

Going underground

The bedrooms here are enclosed in 22 square feet of space, which also includes a living room. Lit not only by arched skylights, the large windows allow for a stream of natural light to pour in and illuminate this amazing building. What is really remarkable though, is that the entire space features no hard edges at all, with everything being rounded to give a comfortable and cosy ambiance. The green hues of the trees outside contribute to an uplifting atmosphere and help to further ground this structure with a constant reminder that nature has played a key role.

Amongst the trees

Private House, Suffolk: mediterranean Houses by Strom Architects
Strom Architects

Private House, Suffolk

Strom Architects

The natural landscape in this picture has been nothing but complimented by this stunning house that seems to effortlessly blend in and almost disappear among the trees. With part of the original structure having burnt down, there was more free reign to really create something perfect for the homeowner that would seek to not only compliment but add to the beauty of this setting. By using dark wood cladding on the exterior of the house, the building itself does not appear too large or out of place but instead, becomes part of nature and will age and gain character accordingly. Gorgeous!

Bring the outdoors in

Private House, Suffolk: scandinavian Living room by Strom Architects
Strom Architects

Private House, Suffolk

Strom Architects

What an amazing interior! the use of extensive glazing has ensured that it's not only the exterior of the building that seamlessly harmonises with nature, but also the inside. By not being able to draw the line between where the outdoors and indoors meet, the entire property becomes reclaimed by nature with the sunshine pouring in and filling the space while the luxe greenery of the garden reaches towards the furniture. There is an inherent calm in this living room that speaks of a symbiotic relationship with its surroundings and we think it is just stunning.

Nestled in

What a beautiful and hidden retreat! This small summer house, consisting of two cubes, has been effortlessly integrated in amongst a wealth of trees that almost seem to form a protective barrier as well as offering sympathetic camouflage. The large window in the front of the dining room cube helps to draw the outdoors inside, while the sleeping quarters are nestled away amongst leafy friends, adding a sense of privacy and security. In time, the exterior wood cladding will age, allowing the building to be further hidden and almost entirely reclaimed by nature!

Back to basics

If you are staying in a small wooden building, in the forest, the last thing you will need is copious amounts of furniture and extraneous luxury as we are sure your guiding desire will have been to get back to nature. The sparse decoration of this example really allows for the outside to become the main attraction, with perfunctory functionality maintained as a courtesy. Leaving the trappings and stylings of a more modern world behind allows for a far better connection to the materials in the property, as well as the surroundings and we think it looks blissful.

For more eco inspiration, take a look at this ideabook: Eco houses.

Have you been inspired to look to nature for your next build? Tell us below!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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