Two concepts, a subterranean abode by Paul Coudamy and a fantastic folly by Didier Faustino, offer new answers.
Paris architect Paul Coudamy’s UnderHouse turns the home on its head. The idea responds to an increasingly common complaint about city living: in dense urban cores, especially those undergoing condo and other high-rise development, privacy and direct sunlight are hard to come by. His idiosyncratic answer is to bury the home underground, and puncture both levels with long cylinders capped by skylights – essentially giant solar tubes. The house still stakes its territory, but also provides its neighbours with accessible green space atop its roof. The cylinders serve other functions, as ventilators and access points. The largest houses a spiral stair that descends to the lower level, where sunshine still penetrates.
While Didier Faustino’s explosion of containers may look radical, it could get built as part of the Solo Houses project. This rollout of 12 architect-designed abodes has already seen the completion of Solo Pezo, a horizontal volume that peers out above the treetops, by Chile’s Pezo von Ellrichshausen. Also destined for the 50-hectare site in Spain’s stunning Matarranya region, the remaining visions are decidedly bolder. Faustino’s big bang–inspired folly seems practical compared with Sou Fujimoto’s proposal, a riff on his ethereal installation for the Serpentine Gallery in London. Aiming to reinvent the secondary home concept through a unique architectural experience, Solo Houses is offering the homes for sale, should a buyer dare to live in one.