Some take their inspiration from classic TV shows or movies. Others aim to connect visitors with history or nature.
Whatever their goals, these unique properties have captured the world’s attention for their ingenious, often award-winning designs. And in each case, someone gets to call these truly original properties home.
The world’s narrowest house: Poland
Who lives here: Writers and other creatives through an artist-in-residence program
Measuring just 152cm at its widest point, Keret House made headlines in 2012 when the property-slash-art installation was first unveiled. The infill building is squeezed into a crack between two other properties – one pre-World War II and the other post-war Poland – in Warsaw’s old Jewish ghetto. Architect Jakub Szczesny explains: “I fell in love with a space between two buildings from different periods. I decided to make a link.”
The airplane house: Nigeria
Who lives here: The Jammal family
This property has become quite the tourist attraction in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city. The airplane house also has an incredibly romantic history: the house was built in 2002 by Said Jammal as a symbol of his love for his wife Liza, who is a passionate traveller. We dare you to match that as an extravagant romantic gesture.
The Flintstone House: USA
Who lives here: Korie Edises reportedly bought the home in 1996 for $US800,000
Remember the lovable Stone Age family The Flintstones? This is what their home would have looked like in real life – from the outside at least. Located in California, the property was originally just one big experiment in using different building materials. Steel and wire mesh were built on top of a series of large inflated balloons, and then sprayed with concrete. The best views of the house are from the Interstate 208, en route to San Francisco.
The giant seashell house: Mexico
Who lives here: The Mayorga family
The Nautilus house takes living by the seaside to a whole new level. The seashell-shaped property, located in Mexico City, was inspired by the work of Gaudí and Frank Lloyd Wright. It is an example of what the structure’s designer Javier Senosiain has called “bio-architecture”, which combines elements of the natural world with the principles of modern design.
The earthquake-proof dome houses: Indonesia
Who lives here: The residents of New Ngelepen
The non-profit Domes for the World project was born after a devastating earthquake struck the Yogyakarta area, on Java island, in 2006. The foundation has since rebuilt the village of New Ngelepen, including 71 EcoShell homes and other community facilities.
The Transformer house: Hong Kong
Who lives here: Architect Gary Chang
Dubbed the Transformer house after the popular toy and animation franchise, Gary Chang’s Hong Kong apartment appears at first glance to be a simple studio. But on closer inspection, the visitor discovers it can in fact morph into at least 24 different rooms. Within 32 square metres, Chang has managed to fit a TV room, kitchen, laundry, spa, walk-in closet and more. “Instead of me moving from one room to the other, actually I don’t move – the home moves for me,” he says.