over the past 12 months, designboom has featured a wide range of architectural projects that offer their users a unique retreat from the outside world. despite being diverse in scale, material, and setting, our selected schemes all offer inventive solutions for small spaces that both respond to, and engage with, their contexts — from an australian ‘home on the range’ to the only private residence designed by the late zaha hadid.


we continue our annual TOP 10 round up of the year’s most talked about projects with a look at ten residential dwellings and private spaces featured on designboom over the past 12 months.




1 – studio MK27 tops ‘planar house’ in brazil with an expansive green roof

studio MK27 planar houseimage by fernando guerra



in porto feliz, a municipality in the brazilian state of são paulo, studio MK27 completed a dwelling that the practice describes as ‘a radical exercise in horizontality’. appropriately named ‘planar house’, the residence is discreetly inserted at the plot’s highest point and topped with a green roof that mimics the surrounding lawn. referring to the roof as the building’s fifth façade, the architects also carefully integrated solar panels and skylights within the canopy.

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2 – zaha hadid’s only private residence features a soaring tower elevated above the treetops

TOP 10 private houses of 2018image courtesy of OKO group



in 2006, russian businessman vladislav doronin commissioned zaha hadid to design his private house on a remote plot of land outside of moscow. now, the ‘capital hill residence’, which is the only private home that hadid designed, is complete. located on the north-facing hillside in barvikha, where pine and birch trees grow to heights of up to 30 meters, the form of the building is defined by its natural topography with fluid geometries emerging from the landscape and remaining partially embedded within the hillside.

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3 – bjarke ingels group designs customizable tiny house that can be built in any location

BIG klein A45 houseimage by matthew carbone



this year, bjarke ingels group (BIG) designed a customizable micro-home that can be built within a rapid time-frame in any location. named ‘A45’, the project is an iteration of the traditional A-frame cabin, known for its pitched roof and angled walls. BIG has developed the qualities of this classic structure with a design that maximizes usable floor area by taking a square base and twisting the roof 45 degrees. this enables the tiny home to boast a soaring 13 foot (4 meter) ceiling height.

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4 – pezo von ellrichshausen embeds concrete ‘loba house’ into the terrain of coastal chile

https://static.designboom.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/pezo-von-ellrichshausen-loba-house-coliumo-chile-designboom-818.jpgimage courtesy of pezo von ellrichshausen



in chile, pezo von ellrichshausen completed a concrete structure described as ‘more than a hut but less than a house’. embedded into the terrain, the opaque ‘loba house’ faces a sea lion reserve on the pacific ocean. in developing the project, the design team played with perceptions of proportion to create a monolithic object with an ambiguous scale. ‘in its under dimensioned thickness, in its narrow and tall proportion, the building could be read as an inhabited wall that runs perpendicular to the natural topography,’ say the architects.

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5 – akihisa hirata tangles indoor and outdoor spaces for ‘tree-ness house’ in tokyo

https://static.designboom.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/akihisa-hirata-tree-ness-house-otsuka-tokyo-japan-designboom-818.jpgimage © vincent hecht



japanese architect akihisa hirata designed this multi-storey project in tokyo’s otsuka district, which expands upon his affinity with nature-inspired architecture. although it is primarily a residential building, ‘tree-ness house’ also contains spaces for commercial tenants at its lower levels. located on a deep but narrow site, the slender design employs an organic layering system to generate a series of three-dimensional spaces that relate to the building’s surroundings.

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6 – cadaval & solà-morales’ residence exists in perfect symbiosis with its mexican forest surroundings

cadaval & solà-morales' residence exists in perfect symbiosis with its mexican forest surroundingsimage by sandra pereznieto



located in the middle of a forest two hours north of mexico city, ‘casa de la roca’ achieves the perfect balance between blending within its surrounding landscape and vegetation, and standing out at the same time. designed by barcelona- and mexico city-based practice cadaval & solà-morales, the house features three distinct lookout wings with floor-to-ceiling windows at their ends, distant from each other, and joined together by a central ‘nodal’, which is protected but open to the outside environment.

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7 – JR’s hut is a true australian home on the range, built by a two person team

https://static.designboom.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/jrs-hut-kimo-estate-luke-stanley-architects-designboom-818.jpgimage by hilary bradford



JR’s hut at kimo estate is an australian home on the range. typically for property value, location is everything. most people pay top dollar to be were the action is, but this project in rural new south wales has the exact opposite virtue. there is absolutely nothing around it, except for beautiful rolling hills. the house appears as if part of a dream. as a true little house on the prairie, the plot was historically used as a farm but is now used to host weddings and other special getaways. it was built by anthony hunt design and luke stanley architects to reference the a traditional farm house construction with some modern touches.

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8 – casa H by felipe assadi is a testament to the beauty of reinforced concrete

felipe assadiimage by fernando alda



entitled ‘casa H’, this residence in chile is a testament to the beauty of reinforced concrete. designed by felipe assadi, trinidad schönthaler, and macarena ávila, the dwelling is composed of a succession of longitudinal and transverse beams that together generate a single structure hovering gracefully above the ground. 

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9 – marià castelló’s island mirage, a duet of nature and design

marià castelló island designimage by marià castelló martínez



good architecture contemplates the natural landscape it inhabits, but brilliant architecture merges the two. marià castelló martínez has achieved brilliance with his project ‘bosc d’en pep ferrer’ on the mediterranean island of formentera. combining the natural and the man made worlds, castelló seamlessly conducts a beautiful duet. the project takes a cross section of the very earth which it inhabits exposing the bare rock and allowing a rare glimpse of it’s natural beauty. this leads into the architect’s use of pine and fir left in their natural color, a warm hue that matches the sand. the design is dictated by its materials.

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10 – pezo von ellrichshausen’s crescent-shaped house in chile provides shelter from the elements

pezo von ellrichshausen casa rodeimage courtesy of pezo von ellrichshausen



on chile’s chiloé island, pezo von ellrichshausen has completed a crescent-shaped residence that sits atop an evergreen meadow. the project, titled ‘rode house’, contains three living spaces organized around a partially sheltered courtyard that provides protection from the elements. depending on where it is viewed from, the curved property appears as two very different buildings. ‘from one side it stands as a massive and hermetic fortified refuge, from the other it appears as a large pitched roof almost without supporting walls,’ explains the design team.

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