Just-Crazy-Enough-to-Work Buildings We Love

Photo: Alice Studio/Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace/Joel Tettamanti /Alice Studio Epfl/Gestalten
Those seeking inspiration or a momentary getaway should look no further than Rock the Shack from German publisher Gestalten. Showcasing structures around the world that brilliantly integrate design, function, and an embrace of natural surroundings, the pages are lined with design impossibilities made real. Here’s a quick preview of the 240-page book that will let your imagination run wild.

Photo: Built for the Zermatt Festival, a renowned annual chamber music event, Entree Alpine capitalizes on the site’s incredible views. Walking up the spiral, visitors witness a brilliant panoramic view of the mountainous surrounding landscape. Most impressive, it was designed and executed by a team of second-year architecture students.
Photo: Baumraum/Alasdair Jardine/Gestal
The structure was a gift from a wife to her husband and sits nestled in a pear tree above orchards and vineyards. Windows and skylights ensure occupants maintain a connection with the outdoors, while a spacious terrace allows the couple to admire their property.
Photo: Casey Brown Architecture/Penny C
Located on a remote mountain, the tower features a mere 9 square-meter footprint and has panoramic surrounding views for hundreds of miles. When not in use, the awnings flip down to completely enclose the timber and glass interior and protect it from the elements. The building was constructed in Sydney, Australia, then transferred to its isolated home.
Photo: Tham & Videgård Arkitekter/Pete
A floating hiding place, the Mirror Cube’s walls camouflage the space within and seamlessly reflect the surroundings and sky. To prevent birds from hitting the reflective glass, a transparent ultraviolet color, visible only to birds, is laminated onto the glass panes. The two-person space includes a bedroom, bath, living room, and roof terrace.
Photo: Casati/Gustav Willeit/Gestalten
The structure features a striped wooden exterior and bumpy, limestone walls on the inside. Protruding from the building’s exterior are box windows, many of which reach to the bottom of their respective floors, allowing even small children to absorb the majestic surrounding views of the surrounding mountains.
Photo: Matali Crasset/Lucas Fréchin/Ge
The diamond-shaped cabin on legs can be moved around the forest without harming or disturbing local ecosystems. Acacia wood, Douglas pines, and galvanized steel blend into the landscape, camouflaging the diamond-shaped form in the shadows of the undergrowth. Capable of housing up to four people, the structure’s minimal amenities allow for a pared-down and invigorating outdoor experience.
Photo: Paul Morgan Architects/Peter Ben
The structure fits its surroundings effortlessly, as forked tree branches appear to grow out of the ground to support the building. Bringing together components of the small Australian house, the primitive hut, and traditional Aboriginal structures, this home allows those inside to take in the picturesque setting.
Photo: Olson Kundig Architects/Tim Bies
Set on a small island just off Vancouver, the cabin covers the basic necessities of living: a small and efficient wood stove heats a room that contains a bed, kitchenette, and toilet. The steel cladding weathers naturally and will eventually blend in with the surrounding rocks and foliage. Interior surfaces are primarily made from a demolished local bridge and cedar harvested from fallen logs on the property.
Photo: Cyrén & Cyrén/Peter Lundstrom/
A horizontal bridge in the forest allows access to this gravity-defying treeroom. Capable of housing two people, The Cabin features a bright and cheerful interior and a rooftop terrace, both of which enjoy sweeping forest views.
Photo: Joel Allen/Heidi Hermanski/Gesta
Just outside Whistler, the Hemloft hangs on a precipitous slope in a towering stand of hemlocks wrapped around a single tree. The structure’s oval shape masks internal structural elements, such as an al fresco camp-style kitchen and a small sleeping loft. A guest book encourages visitors to seek out, discover, and share their experience.
Photo: Gestalten
Plenty more inspiration and a great book for any table can be purchased here.