Lean In: 7 Slanted Houses with a New Perspective

Lindsey May Lindsey May

Whimsical and off-kilter, these homes lean, shear, and tilt in unexpected ways. The archetypal image of the home — one projecting stability, security, and static — is typically reflected in structural and formal compositions of rectilinear, orthogonal volumes. However, as demonstrated by the bold projects in this collection, leaning walls can animate the staid volumes of the home. Pushing the boundaries of domestic architecture, the projects featured here expand our vocabularies and imaginations around residential architecture. To understand the geometric gestures, the buildings must be understood as a whole geometry. To reinforce this single whole, nearly all of the buildings in this collection are clad in a single material. This gesture unites the form and highlights the atypical shape of the walls.

Not only are the houses featured here unique in their overall volumes, the buildings’ leans and tilts leave traces in the interior of the buildings. These overall geometries resolve themselves in interesting ways in the interior. How to resolve typical architectural elements such as windows, partitions, thresholds, and stairs in these unique interior spatial conditions? Parallelogram windows, irregularly shaped openings and thresholds, and leaning interior walls hint at the overall shape of the structure. The interior impacts of the tilted overall volume not only draw into question how we perceive the home, but perhaps also how we live within it.

While this collection of houses may seem eccentric at first glance, they serve to expand our expectations of residential design and beg for us to lean in and learn more.

Villa Willemsdorpby Dieter de Vos Architecten, De Pinte, Belgium

The geometric particularities of this building are a deliberate reaction to its context in a typical Flemish suburb among rectilinear houses with gabled roofs. Clad overall in ceramic tile, the uniform façade unifies the volume and accentuates its formal gestures.

Kamogawa House by Okuno Architectural Planning, Kamogawa, Japan

This Japanese home is organized around an open central courtyard that brings light and air into the interior. The enclosure of the building leans inward as if the walls are resting on one another for mutual support.

ZEB Pilot House by Snøhetta, Larvik, Norway

The design of the ZEB Pilot House draws its form from environmentally conscious decisions. The south-facing tilted roof houses an array of solar panels that power the house.

SRKby Artechnic, Meguro, Japan

This house achieves two competing agendas: providing privacy, while at the same time creating a feeling of open space. The façade’s fortress-like wall precludes views into the house yet opens up to the sky at the top of the fluted volume.

Leaning House by PRAUD, Oeseo-myeon, Gapyeong-gun, South Korea

The cubic volume of this house appears to have been lifted at one end from the ground and propped up. The singular cladding material reinforces this. Interestingly, the windows are still oriented vertically-horizontally, detaching their geometry from the gesture of the overall building.

Guest Pavilions by Labodesignstudio, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

The façades of these three guest pavilions lean forward toward the spectacular views of the ocean. This gesture reinforces the connection to the site and also provides shade for the pool area below.

Annex by Tuvalu Arkitekter, Kråkerøy, Norway

This small building in a rural Norwegian setting is a small sleeping quarters that is near a larger central home. Two walls at either end lean inward just slightly to create an intimate space on the interior and also increase the weathering effect of the façade.

The House on The House by Raimondo Guidacci, Trofarello, Italy

This project is and addition to a suburban home in Italy. The tilted volume gesture encapsulates the addition. The directional cladding of the house reinforces its non-vertical direction.