Houses to take your breath away

Perched on dramatic cliff tops, nestling in lush jungles, deceptively simple lines and stark sihouettes... published by Taschen in two volumes, the beautifully presented '100 Contemporary Houses' shows some of the most stylish private homes from all around the world and gives a glimpse of how modern architects tackle environmental challenges and adapt to local conditions.

The German publishing house Taschen specialise in lavish, but affordable original editions with exceptional photos on a range of topics particularly design, architecture and lifestyle. This time, with the two volumes of 100 Contemporary Houses, it's the turn of modern architecture. Most of the houses are from the twenty-first century and the powerful images show houses large and small, from Japan to California, to give an overview of how architects today are facing modern challenges of environmental concerns such as sustainability as well as adapting to the changing ways we live our daily lives.  Sadly, most of us will never have the chance to look inside the houses featured, as they are private homes, so feast you eyes on these images.

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Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses

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Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Brazil
The architect Marcos Acayaba refurbished his own home in Sao Paulo in 2005, redesigning the access bridge to incorporate a new system to cope with the frequent tropical rains. The careful use of natural and local materials makes the house a jewel in the lush setting of the Brazilian jungle / © Leonardo Finott 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Sydney
The plan of 'Holman House' refers to a work by Pablo Picasso titled The Bather. The award-winning building is perched on the edge of a 70-metre cliff in Sydney, Australia, and is the work of Durbach Block Jaggers  / © Reiner Blunck, Durbach Block Jaggers 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Portugal
On the outskirts of Leiria in Portugal, this deceptively stark structure by the Aires Mateus brothers  is full of surprises created by underground spaces and recesses in the basic form and alternating glazed and opaque surfaces / © Fernando Guerra 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, CHile
Windows of different sizes and at different levels brighten the interior space and open it to the ocean, allowing the natural light to flood into this beautiful house designed by Pezo Von Ellrichshausen Architects and located on the peninsula of Coliumo (Chile) / © Cristobal Palma 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Japan
The curious almost sculpture-like 'Shell House' by the Japanese architect Kotaro Ide is a vacation home in Karuizawa, Nagano, Japan. Built in a forest in an area where the climate is extreme, the structure wraps around to enclose a full-grown fir tree / © Hiro Sakaguchi / AtoZ 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Chile
Two projects of the Chilean Mathias Klotz are included in the Taschen collection. The photo shows the '11 Women House' , overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the coast at Beranda, Chile. Local topographic characteristics and urbanistic restrictions presented the architect with a number of challenges / © Roland Halbe 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Japan
Often unexpected or eccentric, the work of Japanese architect Terunobu Fujimori is characterised by his use of natural materials. This house in Nagano City, from 2006, was inspired by the compact French cave dwellings of Lascaux and makes major use of charred cedar planking, a strong but flexible material / © Akahisa Masuda 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Chile
The vast wooden deck of the appropriately named 'Deck House' at Maitencillo, Chile, is like a giant chaise longue looking out towards Rungue with the Cordillera de la Costa – the coastal mountains – as a back drop. This glass and wood summer house is the work of Felipe Assadi and Francisca Pulido / © Cristobal Palm 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Toronto
The architectural studio Shim Sutcliffe who designed this guest house on the wooded grounds of a private residence in Toronto, Canada, conceived it as "a glowing lantern in the forest" / © Raimund Koch and Shim-Sutcliffe 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Costa Rica
Designed by the Italian architect Gianni Botsford, 'Kike House' in Costa Rica aims to cause minimum impact on the environment by coupling indigenous techniques and materials with modern design technologies and aesthetics. The light wooden pavilion is supported on a simple foundation of wooden stilts and concrete, and blends with its surroundings, both visually and environmentally / © Christian Richters 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Malaysia
Located on a hill in the lush green of the old diplomatic community, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this 3,000 square-metre residence combines public, private and guest areas and was designed by the French studio Jouin Manku, an agency headed by a French designer and a Kenyan architect / © Roland Halbe 

Taschen 100 Contemporary Houses, Connecticut
Polish-born but a New Yorker by adoption, Daniel Libeskind is the architect behind this family weekend-house in western Connecticut. Clad in mirror-finish bronzed stainless steel, the project name 18.36.54 is derived from the 18 planes, 26 points, and 54 lines of the spiralling ribbon that defines its living spaces / © Todd Eberle