Tour the ‘Greenest’ House on Earth
USINFO | 2013-12-05 13:33

The Mushroom House

Cincinnati, Ohio

Background: This was the home and studio of Terry Brown, an architect who died in 2008. Brown, who was a professor at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, built the home between 1992 and 2006, bringing in students, on occasion, to contribute to the project.

Why It’s Unique: Undulating wood work, bizarre shapes and an array of materials come together to form a cohesive, albeit zany, structure.

“This isn’t something you draw up and say ‘go build’ it," Koliopoulos tells PM. “When you’re doing something this custom, you’re fabricating and designing simultaneously in the field." The fantastical design doesn’t stop at the front door. The interior is adorned with angular cabinets and multicolored rock walls. “This is highly personal and artistic … it’s just a different way of living and thinking," Koliopoulos says.

Bubble Castle

Theoule, France

Background: Designer Antti Lovag long rebelled against traditional structures, and the Bubble Castle is a perfect example of his radical approach to rethinking the built environment. The bulbous compound sits on the southwest coast of France.

Why It’s Unique: There are no sharp angles or straight lines in this unusual design. Lovag unified the home with its natural surrounding by bringing outdoor elements inside, including palm trees and a waterfall. “This home is incorporating these outdoor rock croppings in a way that links them to the overall bubble concept," Koliopoulos says. The house has already been deemed a historic monument by France’s Ministry of Culture, despite the fact that it’s not even 50 years old.

Amory Lovins' House

Old Snow Mass, Colorado

Background: Amory Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute and Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award winner, is no stranger to eco-friendly initiatives, and this combined home and workspace is a testament to his ingenuity.

Why It’s Unique: The residential section of the building costs a measly $5 per month to power, thanks to the structure’s passive solar design, 16-inch-thick walls and krypton-filled windows. As PM previously reported, Lovin doesn’t rely on a boiler or furnace to heat the space; instead two wood-burning stoves take care of the job. But most impressive, perhaps, is the greenhouse, which has churned out nearly 30 crops of bananas, as well as guavas, pineapples and other tropical fruit rarely associated with the Rocky Mountains.

The Winchester Mystery House

San Jose, California

Background: Work on this home began in 1884 and lasted through 1922, when owner and designer Sarah Winchester, heiress of the Winchester rifle company, died. At one point in time, the property sprawled over 161 acres, but has since been reduced to just four acres.

Why It’s Unique: As PM previously reported, Sarah Winchester was never a huge fan of blueprints. Instead, she preferred an on-the-fly design strategy, sketching rooms and architectural oddities whenever inspiration struck. Notable features include 40 bedrooms, three elevators, 47 fireplaces, 17 chimneys, and 467 doorways. The house originally had seven levels, but an earthquake in 1906 collapsed three of them. Tourists now flock to the house to see its many quirks, including a staircase that leads straight to the ceiling.



©2012-2014 Bywoon | Bywoon