written by:
January 26, 2016
What techniques do cultures in foreign climates use to let nature inside? We revisit idyllic homes in eight countries to find out.
tokyo, house, Takaharu and Yui Tezuka

Japan

This traditional Tokyo home's engawa (a wide corridor, protected under eaves, that skirts the perimeters of traditional Japanese houses) needed some restorative attention—rather than opening onto a garden, it faced a blank wall. The architects behind the remodel knocked down the wall, creating a larger lot. They situated the new house on the length of the lot, alongside a new garden that extends to the original engawa.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Family Style
1 / 8
Outdoor dining area at a Mexico City home

Mexico

On an undesirable lot in Mexico City, architect Yuri Zagorin Alazraki created a stacked home designed to highlight a lush garden. In the outdoor dining room, wire chairs by Harry Bertoia for Knoll surround a mango wood table made by a local carpenter, Diego Madrazo.

Courtesy of 
Rafael Gamo
Originally appeared in A Sublime Indoor-Outdoor Retreat in Mexico City
2 / 8
Living and dining room of a modern eco-conscious pavilion in California by Feldman Architecture with Ligne Roset chairs Foscarini lighting and B&B Italia sofa.

The United States

A couple’s retirement home on a nature preserve in Carmel, California, is designed to make the most of its setting. Accordion-like doors from NanaWall span the living and dining rooms and, during the hotter summer months, open the house to coastal breezes.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Retirement Never Looked Better and More Sustainable
3 / 8

Brazil

A renovated São Paulo apartment revolves around a serene terrace. Enlarged windows and strategic plantings seem to bring the garden inside.

Originally appeared in 7 Shady Pergolas Perfect for Summer
4 / 8
Patio of modern renovation in London

England

Brod Hart's home in London’s Finsbury Park neighborhood is hidden away on a quiet street filled with the typical Victorian houses that populate the area. Indoor-outdoor living abounds, with plenty of room for entertaining, especially in the custom courtyard that has held hundreds of guests at many a party.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Wheelchair-Accessible Adaptive Reuse Project in London
5 / 8
El Salvador retreat with indoor-outdoor living spaces

El Salvador

Cincopatasalgato designed this breezy home as a gathering place for an extended family in Santa Ana, El Salvador. The house was made from steel beams, cast concrete slabs, and a metal sheet roof. "The dining area and kitchen open north and south to capture the summer breezes during the hottest days of the year," architect Roberto Javier Dumont says.

Courtesy of 
Jason Bax
Originally appeared in Idyllic Indoor-Outdoor House in El Salvador
6 / 8
Cut Paw Paw house kitchen in Australia

Australia

pre-WWII bungalow in Victoria became a bold experiment in indoor-outdoor living. In their renovation, Andrew Maynard Architects decided to leave the structure deliberately incomplete. The existing bungalow transitions into an empty frame that houses an open-air corridor.

Courtesy of 
Peter Bennetts
Originally appeared in Indoor-Outdoor House Looks Completely Unfinished, And That's the Point
7 / 8
modern house with cantelivered porch

Spain

In central Spain, a pair of architects crafted this vacation home attuned to its pastoral setting. The top floor of the two-story, 1,614-square-foot abode barely pokes above the rocky hillside it’s built into. Sliding glass walls on two sides of the main living space open to expansive cantilevered decks showcasing the bucolic landscape.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Modern House in Rural Spain
8 / 8
tokyo, house, Takaharu and Yui Tezuka

Japan

This traditional Tokyo home's engawa (a wide corridor, protected under eaves, that skirts the perimeters of traditional Japanese houses) needed some restorative attention—rather than opening onto a garden, it faced a blank wall. The architects behind the remodel knocked down the wall, creating a larger lot. They situated the new house on the length of the lot, alongside a new garden that extends to the original engawa.

Photo by Adam Friedberg.

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