This is dream home reverie at its most exciting and extreme. Elemental Living is a new Phaidon title that explores sixty works of contemporary architecture that have a special relationship with the natural environment. Among the extraordinary buildings are designs by 20th-century leading architects, such as Mies van der Rohe’s Illinois riverside woodland retreat, Oscar Neimeyer’s Brazilian ‘Casa Canoas’ jungle pavilion and Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘floating’ waterfall sanctuary. Work by contemporary stars including Rick Joy, Kengo Kuma, Souo Fujimoto, and Mathias Klotz push the boundaries of what is materially possible, resulting in considered, awe-inspiring spaces.
It's a timely survey that will especially resonate with lovers of design and nature. "As the world continues to urbanise and our feelings of isolation from the ‘natural world’ grow, our desire for a place away from the pressures of city life increases. Each house demonstrates a deep concern with the creation of unique living spaces that not only connect the inhabitants with the natural landscape but also aim to preserve and respect the environment using new and innovative methods. Elemental Living is organised into three sections: ‘With’ – houses constructed from natural materials found nearby, ‘’Within’ - houses that are truly integrated into the natural environment; and ‘At’ houses that make the most of spectacular views. These three elements have produced groundbreaking new ideas of working with the landscape to achieve beautifully natural spaces."
The book's stunning pages take the reader on a global adventure that is both visually exciting and illuminating. Buildings as diverse as cliff-side caves and mountain hideaways feature alongside luxury igloos and desert oases to show how buildings can push boundaries and truly engage with their surroundings to create long-term sustainable structures. This beautiful volume is a must-have for architecture and design aficionados, as well as anyone with a passion for the natural world and stunning landscapes.
Elemental Living: Contemporary Houses in Nature by Phaidon Editors is available on 7 November, 2016 (£29.95)
Could you choose one favourite? I am fascinated by all of these incredible homes, but have always been partial to the idea of living in a glass box surrounded by greenery. And John Pawson's smooth, stoney minimalism set upon a clear coastal view that goes on forever? No, I could not choose just one favourite.