15 Intriguing Homes Perched Above the Earth

In the earliest times, humans have often chosen to reside in structures above the ground — whether ihigh above in trees, from cliff-face caves, in rock towers or on stilts above the water. Back then the decisions were made for practical reasons: convenience, economy, isolation and protection from floods, marauding armies or wild animals. As towns developed, it made sense to reside in rooms above street-level shops. In rural areas people lived above the animals’ quarters. The 20th century brought the development of vertical stacked high-rise buildings with ubiquitous penthouses and their wraparound outdoor terraces.

Today living above the floor can open all sorts of chances, from simply allowing perspectives over a garden wall to maximizing amazing views, making the most of a little plot and taking advantage of cool breezes. The limitations of a tight scheme could be overcome by placing a house on columns. A house on stilts can allow for buildings above water. In a tropical climate, a tree house will provide security and refreshing breezes.

However, this style of living is not for everyone. Some of those houses infringe on neighbors’ privacy. Others have issues with universal accessibility. Have a look at these homes perched above the ground. Could you reside in one of those spaces?

Dorman Architects

1. Apartments, Paye Basque, Spain

living units stacked one above the following with a workshop, tavern or shop at street level are average in older cities. French windows using an easy wood guardrail overlook the narrow roads and supply air and light to the dwelling units. Often, the flats opposite each other are inside touching reach.

2. Villa Savoye, by Le Corbusier, Poissy, France

This single-family house, increased on pilotis above the floor, embodies the contemporary idea of dwelling above floor. Additionally, it illustrates Corbusier’s famous Five Points for a New Architecture, which most architects have followed with varying degrees of success.

The interior boasts a historical illustration of universal accessibility: Both spiral staircase and a ramp lead from the ground floor to the top levels.

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Dorman Architects

3. Modern House, Guimares, Portugal

This modernist house perched on pilotis is about the edge of the dense city core of Portugal’s medieval capital, Guimares. The living spaces are increased above the recessed floor floor, and the major outdoor spaces are around the roof.

4. Lovell Beach House, by Rudolph Schindler, Newport Beach, California

Rudolph Schindler’s Lovell Beach House presents a double-height emptiness at road level; the dwelling areas are high above to maximize views to the ocean.

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Randy Brown

5. Laboratory House, by Randy Browne, Omaha, Nebraska

The cube-shaped living space of Randy Browne’s Laboratory House projects out into the landscape for a stunning perspective. Bridges and stairs connect the disparate elements of the house.

Randy Brown

The kids bedrooms and playspaces are on the bottom level, but the major gallery upstairs adopts the landscape.

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AR Design Studio Ltd

6. The Boat House, by AR Design Studio, Cotswolds, England

This living area expansion, suspended above a pond in the English Cotswolds, is a good distance from the main house. Full-height glazing on three sides generates the sense of being afloat on the lake.

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Elliott + Elliott Architecture

7. Pond House, by Elliot and Elliot, Maine

Elliot and Elliot’s Pond House is another example of a house anchored to the property on one side and extending out across the water on stilts. This time the house references wharf-side buildings.

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Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects

8. Surfside House, by Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects, Bridgehampton, New York

The main living level of the Surfside House is increased above the horizon line, giving the impression that the house is hovering above the dunes. Its lightness and transparency is highlighted by the glimpses of the ocean visible beneath and through the house.

Jeni Lee

9. Bamboo House, by Simon Evans, Bali

Simon Evans’ Bamboo House in Bali is partly closed at the bottom level but fully open above to make the most of the beautiful views of the surrounding forest.

Jeni Lee

Upstairs is a lounge, sleeping and office place that overlooks the forest. Obviously, the proprietor is not likely to sleepwalking.

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10. Didden Village, by MVRDV, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Dutch architecture firm MVRDV extended the main body of the redbrick home up to give extra bedrooms and an outdoor living space.

The extensions sit up top like upscale Monopoly homes. The sense of fantasy is further highlighted by the bright blue exterior finish.

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11. House NA, by Sou Fujimoto, Tokyo

A Collection of stepped transparent platforms comprises Sou Fujimoto’s steel and glass house in Tokyo. The builder has compared living in the open, perched architecture to living in a shrub.

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12. Tower House, by Frederick Phillips Architects, Chicago

This architect squeezed his house, a steel-framed glazed infill building, onto a very small plot in Chicago by stacking the house acts. Much like Villa Savoye, the floor is devoted to the automobile and entrance, while the roof is devoted to the backyard. The living spaces are increased above the bedrooms.

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13. Keret House, by Centrala Architects, Warsaw, Poland

Vertical dwelling is taken to an extreme in this lanky little space in Warsaw, by architect Jakub Szczęsny of Centrala. At road level a stairs drops down by a hatch to allow access to the house.


A ladder results in the sleeping platform overhead. The dining table and chairs are cantilevered from the side wall.

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KUBE architecture

14. Forest House, by Kube Architecture, Great Falls, Virginia

Kube Architecture’s tower from the forest is a four-story expansion of an Present house. Even a playroom and bedrooms are on the lower levels, and an office and media space is on the top level.

KUBE architecture

The tower expansion was created to ensure framed views of the forest are revealed in every direction as one climbs through the house. Here the workplace and media room appears to reach into the forests through the double-height window.

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15. WoZoCo, by MVRDV, Amsterdam

For this outstanding housing project from the Osdorp area of Amsterdam, the architects cantilevered 13 additional housing units out of what could otherwise have been a typical slab housing block.

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NBC Universal, Inc..

Future Imagined: Skytower at Oblivion

Living above the floor is taken to an extreme in the science fiction film Oblivion; the Skytower residence is 3,000 ft above the polluted earth below. It’s all the traditional characteristics of a supercool modern house: wraparound decking, fully tiled walls and, clearly, a heliport.

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More: 6 Awesome Homes Dug Into the Earth

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