5 homes around the globe that nod to their surroundings

The surprisingly diverse forms of these five residences around the world are in direct response to their specific locations, physical and cultural.

HW Studio Architects

Morelia, Mexico

Half-buried under a grassy knoll, this 2,700-square-foot bunker-like home — all concrete except for the wood floors — is accessed by a narrow, high-walled pathway that widens slightly to accommodate a tree. The rear bedrooms overlook an equally narrow walled courtyard, while the large vaulted front living space is completely open to the wooded ravine, thanks to an entire wall of glass.

Architecture Imogen Pullar

Walkerville, Australia

At just 475 square feet, this beachfront family retreat is a tiny home that doesn’t feel like it at all, thanks to soaring pitched ceilings, a loft, built-in furniture and storage, and stunning views of the mountains, forests, or the bay wherever you look. The exterior is clad in non-combustible asbestos – the area is prone to bushfires – which a team of local artists have covered in colorful murals, making the small structure a delightful sight in its own right.

HGX design

Hudson, New York

Despite its size—over 6,000 square feet in total, including a basement media room and gym—this elegant weekend home sits lightly on a grassy ridge, its clean form and cedar siding silver echoing the simple rural buildings of the region. Inside, a limited palette of colors and materials: walnut boards, also silver, on the floors and some walls; other surfaces painted in a single unifying hue and 13-foot high ceilings create serene, bright spaces that are as welcoming to people as they are to the owner’s art collection.

MCXA Group

Malinalco, Mexico

Nature and pre-Hispanic culture guided the design of this 2900 square foot home, surrounded by trees and located near Aztec ruins. Comprising a series of flexible volumes interwoven with courtyards of varying size, the residence is a seamless blend of indoor and outdoor spaces that take full advantage of the leafy canopy while referencing ancient materials (chukum, a Mayan stucco) and structures (blocks of wood that echo the steps of the region’s emblematic pyramids).

Nicole Blair

Austin, TX

Like a bird, this 660-square-foot addition perches on four steel columns a few feet above the roofline of the existing bungalow. Its shop-built steel frame was erected by crane in a single day, then clad in a low-maintenance oxidized steel cladding that blends in with other elements of the site. The split-level interior provides flexible space for family living, recreation and, during the pandemic, a hairdressing station.

Betty K. Park