Over the years at Inhabitat we've had the pleasure of discovering and exploring the most innovative designs from across the globe. Some of our favorite inspirations are from eco-residences that we've all dreamed of inhabiting ourselves. From tiny houses and prefab homes, to floating villas and converted shipping containers, we've rounded up some of the most inspiring dwellings from recent years. Look on to explore these dream-worthy abodes around the world.
Texas architect Jim Poteet transformed a 40-foot shipping container into this gorgeous deep blue backyard studio replete with a verdant living roof, rainwater collection system, composting toilet, and eco-friendly finishes. This glorious example of “cargotecture” features floor-to-ceiling windows that bathe the studio in natural sunlight, while sleek bamboo covers the interior floors and walls.
Inspired by traditional Chinese architecture, this self-supporting, ultra-low-energy shell designed by architect Timothy Oulton is nestled amongst a garden of lychees in Gaoming, Southern China. The outer layers are made of 80 prefabricated FSC-certified timber panels measured to fit together seamlessly, with triple-glazed windows and European-imported doors, which encourage an ultra-efficient design.
The achitects at ArchiBlox unveiled Australia’s first carbon-positive prefab home. Its gorgeous contemporary aesthetic is paired with eco-friendly features, including natural ventilation, solar panels, a green roof, and sustainably-sourced modular furniture. The tiny, light-filled structure is just 800-square-foot structure is currently a prototype that keeps the strong Australian heat naturally out of the home.
Inhabitat spent a night inside this incredible German-certified Wisconsin passive house, which is arguably one of the most energy-efficient homes in the United States. Despite the harsh Midwestern winters, this home stays cozily warm with less energy than is required to use a hair dryer! This home’s strategic passive design achieves supreme energy efficiency with airtight insulation, triple-paned windows and doors, and a rooftop solar array. Plus, nearly all the interior furnishings are reclaimed or sourced from sustainably managed forests, featuring tiles made from ground-up porcelain toilets. This inspiring home conserves water, energy, and space in every way.
Garbett Homes and Vivint’s Zero Home not only boasts an elegant facade, but efficiently produces as much energy as it uses. Located in the Herriman suburb of Salt Lake City, this home was built for a mere $150 per square foot, comparable to the cost of building a conventional home. The Zero Home uses a combination of new construction materials, improved building practices, and high-tech infrastructure to achieve remarkable energy efficiency.
Architect Nicoló Bini’s tiny concrete dome houses are almost reminiscent of 1950s suburbia with a delightfully futuristic undertone. These papier-mâché-like Binishell domed homes are created with a two-dimensional shape on the ground, which is then layered with a wooden form around an air bladder, reinforced with steel rebar, and then topped with concrete. According to Nicoló, these tiny bubble-shaped structures have the capability of surviving extreme conditions such as volcanoes and earthquakes, as proven by similar ancient structures near Mount Etna.
Christopher Simmonds’ minimalist, contemporary and sustainable renovation of this gorgeous Canadian boathouse is quite the sight for sore eyes. Boasting majestic lakeside views, the second story addition includes a spacious guest room and roof terrace. The overall minor upgrade barely used any new materials at all, for a truly sustainable dream build.
This award-winning Montauk retreat lets nature indoors with expansive floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors. Designed by Bates Masi Architects of Sag Harbor, the owners of the home envisioned their abode to feel like one grand screened-in porch. The coveted green home was completed with prefabricated construction, daylighting, geothermal heating and cooling, solar heating, and organic finishes.