New book on architecture not afraid to present brighter and bolder examples in the field

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Editors of architectural digests and interior design tomes often like to strip things back and present the most minimalist examples in their respective fields, probably due to sifting through so many images of colourful and richly textured edifices and abodes that they’ve tired of the richness and opted to filter it down to the cleanest aesthetic. Which leaves those of us that admire a bit of colour or texture very unsatisfied.

Editor Mark Cleary of new coffee table book ‘21st Century Architecture: Designer Houses’ has not been afraid to focus on all that is brilliant and diverse in modern and postmodern architecture. To start with, he forgoes the usual pretentious introduction and jumps straight to quality examples of unique design and stand-out structure, kicking off with Caramel Architeken’s flamboyant ‘500m Living Room’ in Rodaun, Austria. The four-level living space is a fine example of practical and unique design: with elements of sturdy polycarbonate material consistent throughout, some major eco statements in the living room and office area, and curvilinear furniture well-spaced to lend a certain lightness to the place.

Cleary then heads down to Jakarta, Indonesia, where the Alam Family Residence looks like a mathematician’s dream home, all bold geometric in design with a brise-soleil taking up the entire front wall of the house that allows for abstract light patterns to chop and change as day passes through to night.

The most ostentatious of the lot might be Villa Del Cielo in Las Vegas, constructed mostly of reclaimed materials from Europe, Ecuador and Mexico, and filled to the brim with showy antiques and artefacts.

Elsewhere in this great big designer world, Cleary highlights residential gems in Mexico, Brazil, Finland, Swizterland, The Netherlands, Japan, Italy and is very generous with his Australian quota.

The homes down under that leave an indelible mark include Honiton House in Bellevue Hill, Warrandyte Residence in Victoria, South Yarra House, and Woollahra House.

A great reference guide for budding renovators, or simply something very pretty for the coffee table.


‘21st Century Architecture: Designer Houses’ is published by Images Publishing, RRP $59.99 and available at good book stores.