Architecture refers to the design or practice of creating and constructing occupiable structures. One of the many categories of architecture is residential architecture. It is the specialization in the planning of homes and curating individualistic living environments. Residential architecture involves the creation of non-commercial, habitation spaces, which may range from small and simple single-family houses to multi-family mansions or complexes. Private in nature, these residences can be contemporary, modern, minimalist, or unconventional in form based on the preferences of the people residing in them. In this article, we will look at ten examples of exceptionally beautiful homes with rare features that can be regarded as Golden Houses.

1. ‘Box of Tricks’ by Richard Murphy

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Box of Tricks_©Keith Hunter

Architect Richard Murphy’s Edinburgh residence is a golden house named House of the Year for 2016 by RIBA. ‘Box of Tricks’ is a playful puzzle with concealed spaces, dynamic walls, and sliding ladders. Murphy’s design is inspired by his role models in the field – Carlo Scarpa and John Soane. The architecture consists of folding panels, sandstone walls, solar panels, and louvred glazing. The private spaces include concealed wet areas. The home even includes a soothing roof terrace.

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Box of Tricks_©Keith Hunter
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Box of Tricks – Interior_©Keith Hunter
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Box of Tricks – Interior_©Keith Hunter

2. Villa Fifty-Fifty by Studioninedots

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Villa Fifty-Fifty_©Frans Parthesius
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Villa Fifty-Fifty – Ground Floor Plan_©Studioninedots
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Villa Fifty-Fifty – First Floor Plan_©Studioninedots
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Villa Fifty-Fifty – Second Floor Plan_©Studioninedots

Situated in the Netherlands is a modern and minimalist yet very green residence titled Villa Fifty-Fifty, with alternating courtyards designed by Studioninedots. Staying true to its name, This Fifty-Fifty golden house equates the habitable space with the green zones to create a seamless indoor-outdoor experience. The programs are arbitrarily arranged with varied design treatments and material choices to create unique microcosms of light. The sheltered programs consist of private spaces such as the living room, sleeping, and working areas. A notable design element of the villa is a polished aluminium cuboid that houses the children’s rooms and serves as a viewing area. This complements the remaining elements of the residence, such as the raw industrial finishes, corrugated polycarbonate, warm colour accents, and greenery.

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Villa Fifty-Fifty_©Frans Parthesius
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Villa Fifty-Fifty – Interior_©Frans Parthesius
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Villa Fifty-Fifty – Courtyard_©Frans Parthesius

3. Collage House by S+PS Architects

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Collage House_©Photographix
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Collage House_©Photographix

Representative of an exquisite three-dimensional corpse, this golden house is located amongst the sprawling settlements of Mumbai, India. As the name of the residence suggests, the Collage House is a visual representation of an assortment of materials and objects that come together cohesively to create beautiful architecture. This collage narrative can be noted through various design decisions. The frontal facade reuses doors and windows from various demolished projects across Mumbai. The main living space combines contrasting basic and luxurious materials, consisting of brass inlays, polished marble floors, and exposed concrete ceilings. Also, there is a ‘pipe wall’ created by the structural columns and rainwater pipes. 

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Collage House_©Photographix
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Collage House – Interior_©Photographix
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Collage House – Interior_©Photographix

For the central courtyard design, the walls are treated with different approaches – one side consists of rusted scrap metal fastened together, whereas the other wall is covered with leftover stones from site debris and yards. The terrace includes solar panels on a thin steel and glass canopy. The interiors are an ironic integration of old recycled materials, textiles, furniture, and modern and new elements. Lastly, a concrete frame – with a rough finish for the exterior and a smooth finish for the interior – ties all three stories of this golden house together.

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Collage House – Section_©S+PS Architects
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Collage House – Axonometric_©S+PS Architects

4. Edgeland House by Bercy Chen Studio

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Edgeland House – Concept_©Bercy Chen Studio

Designed for a science fiction author intrigued by modern-day living and abandoned industrial character, the Edgeland House is a golden house project in brownfield land previously rooted in pipelines and its resulting excavations. To reclaim and recuperate the land, Bercy Chen Studio has designed the residence with two green roofs to restore the property’s slope and ecosystem. Situated in Austin, Texas, Edgeland’s temperature is maintained by utilizing the earth’s thermal characteristics. The central courtyard creates a fresh breeze between the land and the river. It also serves as a viewing area for various fauna – such as ant colonies, hummingbirds, monarch butterflies, and more – blurring the boundaries between nature and structure. Additionally, Bercy Chen has worked with a floral centre to reincorporate about forty native species of grass and wildflowers to conserve the natural ecosystem.

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Edgeland House_©Paul Bardagjy
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Edgeland House_©Paul Bardagjy
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Edgeland House – Wildflower Integration_©Bercy Chen Studio
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Edgeland House – Interior_©Paul Bardagjy

5. IH Residence by Andramatin

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IH Residence_©Mario Wibowo
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IH Residence_©Mario Wibowo

Designed by Andramatin, the IH Residence in Indonesia can be regarded as a golden house due to its marvellous design. Seated with an overhanging concrete canopy, the home includes bridges, ramps, and sunken pools. The kitchen follows a sunken strategy as well. Centrally placed in the site is a concrete mass that consists of functional spaces. The home is entered via a thin ramp separating the main residence from the service quarters. The facade facing the pools is made up of glazing to offer uninterrupted views, whereas the sleeping spaces are enclosed to ensure privacy. The residence even features a koi pond accompanied by a wooden deck.

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IH Residence_©Mario Wibowo
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IH Residence – Interior_©Mario Wibowo
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IH Residence – Interior_©Mario Wibowo

6. NCaved House by Mold Architects

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NCaved House_©Yiorgis Yerolympos
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NCaved House_©Yiorgis Yerolympos

On the island of Serifos, Greece, is the NCaved House designed by Mold Architects. This golden house is partially embedded into the rocky landscape and depicts a harmonious solid-to-void relationship. The design features multiple courtyards and terraces, which are shaded by a sloped green roof. Along the longer elevations of the home, stone walls are incorporated to create visual relationships between the horizon and various levels. Moreover, an exterior staircase links the levels as well. All habitable rooms remain concealed by the landscape and are discovered only upon entry to the house. The interior palette is naturally inclined with timber and stone strategies. Concrete ceilings and mirrored surface treatments are employed as well. Lastly, cantilevered canopies filter the natural light into the interiors.

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NCaved House – Section_©Mold Architects
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NCaved House_©Yiorgis Yerolympos
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NCaved House _©Panagiotism Voumbakis
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NCaved House – Interior_©Yiorgis Yerolympos

7. Safe House by Robert Konieczny

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Safe House_©Ola Studio
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Safe House_©Ola Studio
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Safe House_©Ola Studio

Robert Konieczny’s golden house in Warsaw, known as the Safe House, is transformative with dynamic elements like sliding walls, shutters, and drawbridges to ensure safety. An architecture dictated by security, the home is ‘closed’ at night and during the day and can only be accessed after proceeding through a gate and safety zone. A dual-purpose roll-down gate features one of the building elevations and doubles as a projection screen due to its anodized aluminium nature. When ‘closed,’ the house remains in a state of complete isolation, as well as insulation with its concrete massing and wool incorporation.

8. Villa Hush Hush by Marks Barfield Architects

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Villa Hush Hush_©Marks Barfield Architects
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Villa Hush Hush_©Marks Barfield Architects

Villa Hush Hush – a golden house that can be toggled to elevate – is designed by Marks Barfield Architects. The house began as a conceptual fascination towards dynamic architecture with two out of four zones of the building, including the ability to elevate up to forty meters and offer incredible views of its surroundings. Instigating a literal and metaphorical ‘moving’ response, the architecture is designed to elevate during low wind scenarios at a steady pace of ten centimetres per second. A steel counterweight is used to counter the supporting column and kinetic element of the villa.

9. Quadrant House by KWK Promes

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Quadrant House_©Olo Studio, Juliusz Sokolowski and Jaroslaw Syrek

Located in Poland, this golden house by KWK Promes features a kinetic living space that oscillates within a 90-degree range in the landscape – between the living zone and spa. Known as the Quadrant House, the placement of this rare dynamic element is a response to the sun and its position. While the kinetic element is stationarily attached to either side, it serves as an additional open-air space. The movement mechanism is automated – capable of detecting obstructions.

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Quadrant House_©Olo Studio, Juliusz Sokolowski and Jaroslaw Syrek
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Quadrant House_©Olo Studio, Juliusz Sokolowski and Jaroslaw Syrek
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Quadrant House – Dynamic block_©KWK Promes

10. Xerolithi Vacation House by Sinas Architects

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Xerolithi House_©Yiorgos Kordakis

A golden house on the island of Serifos, Greece, by Sinas Architects, derives its inspiration from xenoliths – retaining walls in Greek architecture – and thus the name Xerolithi Vacation House comes to light. The home uses native stone walls, which makes the architecture merge with the landscape seamlessly, making it difficult to distinguish the two. Curvilinear in plan, the home also includes multiple terraces. The overall organization is split into two masses, with one containing the living spaces and master bedroom while the other smaller mass includes guest spaces. Through this design, Sinas Architects aimed to create a coherence between modern and vernacular Greek architecture. The material palette consists of wood ceilings, knitted bamboo, and plastered walls.

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Xerolithi House_©Yiorgos Kordakis
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Xerolithi House_©Yiorgos Kordakis
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Xerolithi House – Interior_©Yiorgos Kordakis

References

  1. ArchDaily. (2013). Edgeland House / Bercy Chen Studio. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/331677/edgeland-house-bercy-chen-studio .
  2. ArchDaily. (2016). Collage House / S+PS Architects. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/786059/collage-house-s-plus-ps-architects .
  3. Astbury, J. (2021). Giant concrete roof shelters home in Indonesia by Adramatin. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/08/05/ih-residence-bandung-indonesia-adramatin/  [Accessed 12 Sep. 2022].
  4. Barnes, C. (2010). Villa Hush Hush by Marks Barfield Architects. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2010/01/20/villa-hush-hush-by-marks-barfield-architects/  [Accessed 12 Sep. 2022].
  5. Crook, L. (2021). Outdoor space has ‘equal importance’ to interiors in Villa Fifty-Fifty. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/03/03/villa-fifty-fifty-studioninedots-eindhoven-houses/ .
  6. Frearson, A. (2011). Safe House by Robert Konieczny. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2011/06/08/safe-house-by-robert-konieczny/ .
  7. Frearson, A. (2016). Richard Murphy’s ‘box of tricks’ home named UK house of the year. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2016/12/15/richard-murphy-box-tricks-moving-walls-riba-house-year-edinburgh-uk/  [Accessed 12 Sep. 2022].
  8. Frearson, A. (2021). Curving stone walls allow Xerolithi vacation house to merge with Greek island landscape. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/05/01/xerolithi-house-serifos-sinas-architects-stone-walls/  [Accessed 12 Sep. 2022].
  9. Griffiths, A. (2019). Moving terrace follows the sun at Robert Konieczny’s Quadrant House. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2019/05/21/quadrant-house-robert-koniecznys-moving-terrance/ .
  10. Griffiths, A. (2021). Mold Architects completes ‘cave-like’ house overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. [online] Dezeen. Available at: https://www.dezeen.com/2021/02/16/mold-architects-cave-house-terraces-infinity-pool-mediterranean-sea/ .
  11. www.mitchellwall.com. (2021). What Is Residential Architecture? | Mitchell Wall Architecture. [online] Available at: https://www.mitchellwall.com/what-is-residential-architecture/#:~:text=Residential%20architecture%20is%2C%20quite%20simply .
Author

Urva Parmar, an architect, and an amateur writer, seeks to highlight her interests in research, fabrication, and green building technologies through her writing. She is an inquisitive individual who appreciates finding parallels between architecture and other disciplines.

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