The weather is miserable through the entire Western Hemisphere—a constant avalanche of steel grey, with cold snow and rain piling up in a soup of frozen sludge that is taking everyone down. It's time to daydream in the face of this winter torment. Here are the perfect homes for your fantasy summer paradise.
1. Universe House, Mexico
Created by Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco and architect Tatiana Bilbao, Universe's design is based in the Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, which was built in Jaipur, in 1724. Orozco—who visited the observatory in 1996—wanted a house that captured the concept of the Indian building. Bilbao's office drafted the detailed plans after his sketches, and a team built the house in the traditional way, which included the help of a donkey called Panchito, who ferried some of the materials and stones into this wild spot in the Sea of Cortez.
2. Casa 11 Mujeres, Chile
Divided in three floors, Casa 11 Mujeres ("House 11 Women," so named because it was designed for a family with 11 daughters, ages four to twenty) was built with bare concrete with wood floors, glass, and steel on a 45 degree slope looking down Cachagua beach: 87 miles north of Santiago de Chile. The bottom floor contains shared spaces, while the second level has the daughters' bedrooms—all overlooking the sea—and the top floor has the master bedroom, kitchen, living room, and dining room.
It's not about the 11 women. I'm just in love with this house.
3. Playa Carate, Costa Rica
Playa Carate, Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica. Five-percent of the world's biodiversity is in this place, a perfect paradise on Earth. Somehow, someone built this house there. Loaded with green technology, it's not only pretty but 100% self-sufficient.
Created by Robles Arquitectos, the house is so isolated from civilization that it has no access to public power cables, sanitation, or water. For the latter, the house uses water from the forest, which also serves as a power source thanks to two low-impact hydroelectric turbines that crank 800kWh. In addition to the generators, the roof can provide up to 10,800kWh of electricity thanks to its panels. Additional panels heat up the water.
4. Fish House, Singapore
Screw the 6,000-square-foot Central Park duplex, the $100 million house in South Kensington, or the 17th-century apartment with views of Notre Dame. Fish House! Property porn doesn't go more luscious than this. Made of wood, steel, and glass, glass, and more glass, the Fish House is an environmentally-friendly waterfront home in Singapore.
5. Villa Amanzi, Thailand
Villa Amanzi—designed by Original Vision and built in 2008—has got to be one of the most breathtaking places on Earth. What's not to love? Perched on a 197-foot-high cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, it just does not get better. Does it? Let us know in the comments. I would love to be wrong.