One of our greatest preoccupations at Homes & Gardens is shining a light on the world's most beautiful homes. While many are highlighted for their architecture, their interior design, their location – and perhaps even the fame of their occupants – today's selection has been chosen for its eco credentials.
These eco houses are beautiful inside and out – and each has an extraordinary location, too. Most, as you would expect, nestle within natural surroundings, but we have chosen one eco house that is in one of the world's biggest cities, and another that is within easy reach of New York, too. There are links out to the designers, architects or companies involved in their design – we highly recommend visiting their sites to see more of their astounding projects... but only after you have browsed our list.
You can see more of the world's best homes on our dedicated page.
1. An eco house in the forest
Where: Moscow, Russia
Designed by: Kapiturov Nikita (Snegiri Architects, 2019)
Visualized by: Viktoriia Dementieva
Built to fully integrate within the forest environment, this house was designed around existing trees rather than taking away habitats to suit the house. Natural materials were used for the build, and a living plant roof and large energy-saving windows that face the sun are are just a handful of the eco-efficient elements of this build.
2. SuperAdobes in the desert
Where: Hesperia, California
Designed by: Nader Khalili of CalEarth
Khalili's SuperAdobes use ancient building techniques to create resilient, affordable dwellings. Constructed out of locally available earth, sandbags and barbed wire, they are designed as a sustainable housing solution for climate refugees. With this in mind, they are created to be resilient: they are fireproof, hurricane-proof, earthquake-resistant and they also use 100% solar energy.
3. A Long Island eco house in reach of New York
Where: Peconic Bay, New York
Designed by: Studio Mapos
This house really has stolen our hearts. Imagine: an eco house in a beautiful location within reach of one of the world's greatest cities. Could you imagine any place better to live post-pandemic? The family who the house was designed for had fallen in love with the existing tree arrangement and natural fauna of the site, particularly an old growth sycamore in the meadow. Respect for the site was paramount and special care taken to minimize site disturbances of any kind. No painted sheetrock surfaces were used anywhere in the home, only unfinished materials which would be allowed to patina naturally in the salted air of the Hamptons.
Photo: Michael Moran
4. An eco house hidden amongst dunes
Where: Nijmegen, Netherlands
Designed by: Marc Koehler Architects
Designed to blend seamlessly into the seaside landscape, The Dune house has been built with sustainability as a priority. Using passive heating, solar panels, a biomass fireplace, and double glazed windows, the house is designed to heat, store and distribute warmth which leaves it incredibly energy efficient.
Each opening of the house has been shaped and positioned in a specific way to offer a unique perspective of the landscape. From the shape to the colors, textures, and materials, every aspect of the home is thoughtfully integrated into its surroundings.
Photo: Filip Dujardin
5. An eco home deep in a tropical forest
Where: Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Designed by: Cadaval & Solà-Morales
The Casa de la Roca House celebrates each corner of its unique landscape. Hidden in the hills to the west of Mexico City, this rustic home has lookouts that offer rare views of the tropical forest it is surrounded by. Pieces of the forest compose the house – handpicked fallen trees are repurposed as beautiful beams, while the green roof absorbs rainwater, provides insulation, and creates a habitat for wildlife.
Photo: Sandra Pereznieto
6. A garden oasis in bustling Buenos Aires
Where: San Isidro, Buenos Aires
Designed by: BAM! Arquitectura
Built with health as its motivator and an ambition to have a home with net-zero utility bills, the MeMo House proves that you don’t need to live in a forest to be considered eco-friendly. The home was built using locally sourced materials and has wastewater technology to reduce water consumption. Solar panels are also used and state-of-the-art insulation keeps the home warm for less energy usage.
The MeMo House was also created to have the most minimal impact on the natural landscape; with this in mind, it has a wild three-dimensional garden that you can see here.
Photo: Jeremias Thomas
- Thanks to Bankrate for this list