Living space is at a premium in densely populated cities throughout the world, which requires architects to get creative with their designs. And some savvy homebuyers appreciate a unique division of space that makes the most of their land, while offering a stylish alternative to traditional creations. That’s where elevated architecture comes into play — structures that stretch to the sky and minimize their footprint. Here are some cleverly designed examples of the elevated style that offer unique concepts and wonderful views.
This stilted cafeteria is for employees only. The Octospider, designed by Exposure Architects, has more than eight legs and is a glass getaway where workers at Satin Textiles in Thailand can take a break. Inhabitant advises:
The structure is raised 8 meters from the ground and is situated away from the factory so that employees can both physically and mentally “leave” their work during lunch. They do this by strolling up a ramp that springs from the main pedestrian path and leads to the cafeteria. Since the cafeteria is lined with glass, it’s naturally daylit and affords diners a soothing view of the landscape. Since a glass box can get pretty hot, adjustable louvres shade the interior and control the heat. The exterior walkways and cooling water were also designed with energy efficiency in mind.
Designed as simple prefab living that could potentially be used in flood-prone areas, the Single Hauz was inspired by billboards and contains just enough space for the basic needs, with a sleeping loft and accessible roof.
The Today House in Hiroshima, designed by Japanese studio Kimihiko Okada, provides residents with a beautiful garden right underneath then home. Home owners also get great views. The designers compare it to “a bird’s nest” and believe the form “[calls] up architecture’s primary function of relief from disturbance.”
F2 Architecture’s Pole House gives new meaning to “beachfront living.” Built in 1978 on the coast of Great Ocean Road in Australia, the home features floor-to-ceiling retractable glass walls and a glass walkway that offers a thrilling illusion. Oh, and you can rent it.
Jackson Clements Burrows Architects designed the Cape Shank House in Australia, which has views to die for that help bring the outdoors inside and a stunning reflection pool.
Dwell on a unique tree house with floating roof:
When a 40-year-old pine tree fell over at the rear of a Brentwood estate in Los Angeles a few years back, its owner, an art lover and a philanthropist, let it lie. The tree revived itself, continuing to grow from its newfound horizontal position. At that point, the owner decided to honor its resilience by incorporating it into a 172-square-foot office / guest house.
Family living in Athens on two floors with plenty of green space. The house, by 314 architecture studio, is designed to hover over the pool, referencing the owner’s love of sailing and yachts. “The bioclimatic concept of the dwelling implements cooling through its contact with water, and the use of geothermal energy gives this residence a dynamic and modern aesthetic, while also being eco-friendly,” says designboom.
The mushroom-shaped, mostly open-air Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain contains a market, public plaza, panoramic terraces, restaurants, and other shopping. Designed by the German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, the building is an alternative to the sprawling malls that make up American shopping districts.
The Lasalle Franciscanas School in Zaragoza, Spain elevated its sports courtyard in order to prevent obstructed views. The sheltered area underneath the court is used as a playground, doubling the activity space of the property. Steel fencing with transparent walls keeps balls and other objects safely in place.
Number TEN Architectural designed the contemporary Qualico Family Center in Winnipeg, renovating an old building and turning it into a useful green space. The roof contains local grasses, extending the view of the surrounding forest. The interior floors are constructed from fallen trees and the soffits are made from diseased elm trees the builders were able to salvage.