Fancy a new home that is both invisible and portable? Then turn to Austria’s Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, whose flexible housing unit Casa Invisibile is designed for turnkey implementation at any designated site, be it by a lake or snow-capped mountain. Clad in mirrors to reflect the beauty of whatever setting it’s in, each modular home’s facade and interior design can be personalised to your own tastes and wants, with numerous options available for the picking. Layouts are typically segregated into three living modules, with a wet cell (consisting of a bathroom and kitchen) at one end, while a chimney separates the living space from a bedroom. On top of breathing character into the ambience of each room, the sustainable wood found in the framework and fitments of the unit can be completely disassembled, thus reducing environmental impact.
A strong proponent for sustainable living, London-based Paul Archer Design constructed the Green Orchard, a 200-sq-m carbon-neutral house with full-height, motorised panels clad in mirrored aluminium to not only camouflage the house into its surroundings, but also provide insulation and protection from inclement weather. Set within a landscaped garden in South Gloucestershire, the architect also excavated a sunken level (instead of building upwards) to maximise space, while keeping with the natural topography of the landscape. A wood-burning stove provides the house’s heating and fresh water is supplied by a 93-m well that can be heated by thermal solar panels on the roof. Along with two open-air terraces, the Green Orchard consists of four bedrooms, a main bathroom, a workshop space, kitchen, dining and living area.
When challenged to create an individual house with a strong relation to its surroundings, Amsterdam-based architect Johan Selbing of Studio Selva took things literally and, in doing so, attained stunning results. Sitting in an open area of the Noorderplassen-West forest in an experimental housing settlement, the rectangle-shaped villa’s facade is built entirely from reflective glass, effectively blending into its locale and camouflaging its occupants from prying eyes. While only 120sq-m in size, the Mirror House’s floorplan is adaptable to various uses and lifestyles, with careful consideration given to sliding partitions and built-in cabinetry that allows different spaces to be opened or closed off as needed. And though it may look all sleek and sci-fi from the outside, the home’s light-filled interior is warm and homely, thanks to walls lined with birch wood panels.
Venture deep into the woodlands just outside Warsaw and you might be greeted by a rectangular form that floats eerily amid wispy trees. Rest assured, it is not a supernatural phenomenon but a modern, two-storey home named the Izabelin House built by Reform Architekt. Its ground floor is simply clad in reflective panelling such that it blends into the forest floor, giving the illusion that its second floor levitates. A country retreat for a single family, it offers sweeping views of its surroundings while minimising disturbance to the natural terrain. A large sheltered decking at ground level further blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Located in the breathtaking South Tyrolean Dolomites of Italy, the Mirror Houses are a pair of rental holiday homes for those in search of a luxurious stay, where contemporary architecture and nature’s splendour become one. Nestled amidst apple trees against a mountainous backdrop, the two adjoining guesthouses are lifted on a platform — giving the illusion that they are suspended in the air — offering better views of the scenic landscape from their cantilevered terraces. While the eastern side of the guesthouses is fitted with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, its opposite side is fully clad with mirrored glass laminated with UV coating to prevent birds from flying and colliding into the building. Living and dining spaces are situated behind these transparent glass walls for guests to enjoy the panoramic views. Fitted with skylights, the bedrooms are illuminated by natural lighting. The houses also come with a private garden, parking space and a small basement for temporary storage.