Cannons used to stand on top of the 30-foot high Martello Tower Y , a fortress built in 1808 to defend the east coast of England against a possible invasion by Napoleon’s French forces. Two years ago industrial designer Duncan Jackson of Billings Jackson Design and Piercy Conner Architects restored and revived the tower as a monumental base for a three-bedroom, roof-level contemporary residence with views of surrounding farms and shoreline. Entry is via the first floor, once an ammunition store.
A five-story World War II bunker pockmarked by several air attacks but structurally sound provided a vertical, urban plot with great views for a residential penthouse built on top of it in 2008. As a historical landmark, the bunker remains unpainted and unchanged in stark contrast to the contemporary brick, wood and steel dwelling with cantilevered decks on top.
Fred and Wilma Flintstone, meet the Jetsons. First a sandstone mine and later a roller rink and concert venue where Bob Segar and Ike and Tina Turner performed, the nearly three-acre property known as ‘Caveland’ was purchased on eBay in 2003. Its new owners, according to their web site, transformed the cave into a naturally insulated two-story, three bedroom home with a gently curving staircase, hardwood floors and 28 salvaged sliding glass doors on the façade. Most of the rock walls are still exposed in their natural state.
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Is it a monastery? Or a warehouse? No, this is a four-bedroom, four en-suite bathroom apartment on the Quai Du Seujet with a panoramic view of the River Rhône and Lake Geneva. It is traditionally decorated inside, but this property has only one reception room.
Location: Umbria, Italy
This is a tall story, but not a wide or deep one, as this is a small-footprint, two-bedroom, four-floor home in Umbria, Italy. The top of the house has views over the surrounding villages, but you won’t have room to swing a cat inside the property.
Location: Provence, France
On the outside, this is an eccentric three-bedroom 16th-century Provence tower. Inside, it is even more unusual. Amid the beamed ceilings and terracotta floor tiles lies newly installed modern technology ranging from underfloor heating to remote-control gadgetry. The property also comes complete with an extensive olive grove, a mature garden and magnificent views over the striking Luberon region.
Berlin-based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel has created “One-Sqm-House” – probably the smallest house in the world. It’s a DIY wooden structure, which uses only one square meter of space and can be used as a dwelling place, mobile kiosk or even an extra room inside your apartment. Because of the flipping mechanism, it can be used both vertically or horizontally. It has a slide window and a lockable door. The house weighs only 40 kilos and has wheels, so can be moved around easily.
Keret House is an art installation. Takes the form of an insert between the two buildings, representing different eras in the history of Warsaw. The site on which the house stands, is at its widest point 152 centimeters, and the narrowest – 92 centimeters.
If you say you have nothing to hide, try spending a few nights in the see-through house located in Tokyo, Japan. Built by Sou Fujimoto Architects, this 914 square-foot transparent house was inspired by our ancient predecessors who inhabited trees. While the house offers plenty of daylight, expect no privacy here.