There’s keeping a low profile, and then there’s this.
01. Woodpile Studio – Netherlands
Commissioned by the entertainer Hans Liberg and designed by Piet Hein Eek, this building’s rough-hewn facade allows it to blend into the rural surroundings. Open the windows, however, and the inner recording studio is flooding with natural light.
02. Invisible Barn – NYC
Designed by Brooklyn-based STPMJ, this wooden structure is completely enveloped in reflective film. The material mirrored the trees of Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park so well that you had to look hard to spot it.
03. Juniper House – Sweden
Designed by Swedish architects Hans Murman and Ulla Alberts, the Juniper House is barely visible depending on the viewer’s angle. Unlike other houses on this list, it doesn’t rely on mirrors for effect. Instead, the designers used a photo of juniper trees surrounding the house. The photo was used as the base for a tailor-made cloth draping over the house’s three sides.
04. Cadyville Sauna – Upstate New York
Architect Dan Hisel in upstate New York built this forested oasis. It’s built against a cliff, which serves as one of the interior walls and is covered in mirrors. The effect allows the small building to melt perfectly into its surroundings.
05. Mirrorcube – Sweden
Accessible only by a 12-meter-long bridge, this treehouse hotel is a marvelous work of glass made by Tham & Vineyard in the middle of an untouched forest. The mirror reflects everything above and below the cube so perfectly it’s hard to know it’s there. But don’t worry; a particular film is applied to make the glass visible to birds.
06. The Pinnacle – Nashville
The Pinnacle at Symphony Place is a 29-story office and retail skyscraper in Tennessee. It earned LEED Gold certification for energy efficiency and features a one-acre green roof terrace garden. It also appears to be made of clouds.
07. Utility Substation – Netherlands
Every city has structures that, while necessary, are pretty ugly. Roeland Otten, a designer in Rotterdam, has developed several beautification techniques that turn electricity substations and air quality monitoring stations into camouflaged works of art.
08. Rachel Raymond House (Re-Imagined) – Massachusetts
The Rachel Raymond House was designed and built by pioneering architect Eleanor Raymond for her sister in 1931. The house was demolished in 2006, but not forgotten. In its place, Pedro Joel Costa, a Portuguese architect, built this invisible house that uses large glass panels to blend into the landscape.
09. Green Box – Italy
Many people dream of transforming their garage into an art studio or man cave, but few go about it as Act_Romegialli did with this garage in the Italian Alps. Instead of painting or siding, the designers allowed nature to handle exterior renovations. Leafy vines and flowering plants now wholly cover the steel frame.
10. Lucid Stead – Joshua Tree National Park
Composed of mirrors, LED lighting, custom-built electronic equipment, and Arduino programming, the homesteader shack was transformed by Phillip K Smith III to reflect and refract the surrounding terrain like a mirage or hallucination.
11. Aloni House – Greece
This villa by Athens firm Deca Architecture is completely hidden unless you know exactly where to look. And that means looking down. It has a roof supported on two parallel stone walls with the surrounding terrain continuing over it. The result is an underground retreat that doesn’t feel like a hobbit hole.
12. The Desert House – California
Like an armadillo, this Joshua Tree estate by architect Ken Kellogg features a layered roofing structure that shields it from the harsh wind and heat of the desert. Using concrete, glass, copper, and steel, the home looks like something that grew organically out of rock and sand.
13. Glass Farm – Netherlands
No one likes it when a shiny new building goes up in a historic part of town. It just throws off the ambiance. To avoid this, Dutch architects MVRDV disguised this shop and office complex as an old farmhouse with walls and a glass roof.
14. Lookout – Scotland
The Lookout was designed and built by Angus Ritchie and Daniel Tyler, architectural design students at Strathclyde University. With just enough seating for three people, the Lookout is located in Scotland’s bucolic Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, where visitors can use it to frame up the spectacular views.
15. The Dune House – Florida
Living at the beach is fantastic, but living on the coast is even better. In 1975 architect William Morgan designed and built this incognito home right into the dunes of Atlantic Beach.
16. Camouflage House 3 – Japan
Who says greenhouses are only for plants? This cleverly disguised home designed by architect Hiroshi Iguchi looks like a greenhouse from the outside. It even has an interior garden planted with trees that poke through the ceiling.
17. The Pierre – San Juan Islands, Washington
Approach it from behind, and you might not see The Pierre. This retreat is nestled right into a rock and covered with a green roof and foliage. Throughout the house, the rock pokes into the space, further blurring the boundaries between inside and out.
18. Cave Palace Ranch – Utah
Normally ‘hole in the wall’ is reserved for dive bars and hotels that could double as murder scenes, but this place certainly bucks the trend. One of the unique homes in America, this Utah dwelling is a natural red rock cave transformed into a spectacular home.
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