7 Whimsical Residences That Bring Your Childhood House Drawings to Life

These architects put a contemporary twist on the archetypal pitch-roofed home.

Elizabeth Fazzare Elizabeth Fazzare

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When asked to draw a house, most children produce the simple geometry of a triangle-topped square, perhaps complete with a rectangular roof. Residential architecture has often gone far beyond this archetypal structure, with dwellings that feature walls of glass, sweeping curves, or dramatic volumes that can seem more sculptural than livable.

Recently, a number of architects have decided to take a simpler design route for the home. Products of youthful imaginings or embodiments of a more adult whimsy, these seven contemporary projects charmingly evoke those childhood house drawings.

Hunter’s Hall by Bergersen Arkitekter AS, Duved, Sweden

On the property of a Swedish hunting complex, the central structure is this large dining hall. With a shell of modular pine heartwood panels and a front window of glass, the expansive space hosts dinners for hunters. Dog kennels and a garage on the site mirror the hall’s geometry.

HYM by DesignSpec Architects, Japan

This duplex home is built without doors; instead, the architects strategically placed house-shaped openings between rooms. The shape is repeated throughout the two units, unifying them in design but delineating public and private space for each.

Sitka Spruce House by Boutique Architecture Design Studio, Toronto, Canada

This compact house uses large windows to seemingly expand its square footage. A pitched roof covers its two stories, and strategic window framing highlights views of nature. Here, the simple domestic geometry is lengthened and narrowed.

Holiday Container House by MNM Architectes, Brittany, France

A vacation home, this residence is physically constructed of two shapes: triangular and rectangular prisms. Three shipping containers, and the space between them, create the living space. A triangular roof volume extends the height of the container ceilings in this whimsical design.

House with the House Shape Inside by ANY / Yoshinori Nishimura + Yuki Nishimura, Kawasaki, Japan

The first floor of this home is constructed to conform to a “house shape,” and it features a floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door of the same design. As the resident moves to the upper levels of the structure, it becomes a regular rectangular volume. From the exterior, these distinct spaces are clear to the viewer; the “house” silhouette appears cut out from the dark box surrounding it.

Two Barns House by RS+ Robert Skitek, Tychy, Poland

Located in a cul-de-sac, zoning plans defined the triangular geometry of the roofs for this home and garage complex. The shape repeats in these two elements, yet they are distinct. The garage faces north for easy vehicle accessibility while the living space faces a southern back garden for privacy and natural views. The two main structures are connected by an all-glass mezzanine.

Compact Karst House by dekleva gregoric arhitekti, Vrhovlje, Slovenia

The shape of this stone house is inspired by traditional local building tropes. A compact, geometric, nearly windowless structure alludes to Karst village dwellings but is outfitted with contemporary technology for a comfortable domain in a single monolithic volume.

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