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CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE: Beautiful contemporary homes are nothing new, but it takes an extra spark of creativity to meet the modern needs of the people living inside. These homes of the future use sustainable design, unconventional placement or otherwise clever ideas to stand out.  Here are the best we’ve seen hit the design blogosphere in the last year:

The Skyline Residence, Hollywood Hills

Designed to take full advantage of the California sun and hilltop winds, the Skyline Residence sits along a steep ridgeline overlooking Los Angeles. Natural light pours into the home, and a single interior corridor keeps the heat away from bedrooms. For ventilation, doors on two opposite sites of the home can be opened to let air flow through. And to top it all off, an outdoor theater projects movies onto the side of the home for a cinematic experience that puts Loew’s to shame.

Skyline Residence Gallery

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The Otake House, Japan

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There’s no need for tiling or weather sealants at this home, set between the mountains and the Seto Inland Sea. That’s because a shiny, black material, originally used in ship construction, does the job of waterproofing. The Otake House is also a looker, with a large terrace and wide “apertures” for admiring the view.

Otake House Gallery

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Villa Deys, Rhenen, Netherlands

The older but active owners of this home had specific functional requirements in mind, and architect Paul de Ruiter crafted the Villa Deys specifically with them in mind. A rectangular pool is surrounded by glass, while the rest of the home flows without thresholds along a single floor. With all the electrical wiring in the basement, practically everything is handled by remote control — a luxury by any standard.

Villa Deys Gallery

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The Hind House, Wargrave, England

Consider the Hind House a more interesting way to deal with overcrowding. The River Loddon runs alongside the home, so in floods, as seen above, it’s inaccessible without taking a dip. That makes it all the more a reclusive hideaway, with guest, living and bedroom spaces in separate wings.

Hind House Gallery

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Rising Glen Residence, Los Angeles

The designers at Tocha counteract typical Los Angeles sprawl with a house that crams everything onto a small, one-story suburban home. The Rising Glen Residence are four bedrooms, two home theaters, a wine room, a pool with underground stereo system, a spa and even a private studio for yoga. Surrounded by trees, it’s a cozy place to unwind.

Rising Glen Residence Gallery

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Private Home in Chihuahua, Mexico

The extreme regional climate of Chihuahua — sub-freezing winters and melting summers — made for an interesting design challenge. Productora responded by burying part of the home, using the soil’s thermal mass to regulate temperatures indoors. Light and ventilation comes through a series of patios and roof openings, and the sloped appearance blends aesthetically with the landscape.

Productora Home Gallery

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H-House, Pabianice, Poland

What future of design isn’t constrained by increasingly strict zoning regulations? Tamizo Architects navigated a particularly burdensome rule — no more than three building materials allowed — and still came out with an architectural marvel in the H House. The bottom floor is reserved for eating and relaxing, and the bedrooms are upstairs. Higher still, there’s a fitness area with an open patio and even a sauna — just don’t tell the building inspector. [Link]

H House Gallery

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The Beverly Skyline Residence, Texas

In remodeling the Beverly Skyline Residence, architects at Bercy Chen Studio went with a forward-thinking decision: Construct the front facade with recycled glass blocks, use wooden slats as rain screens and catch rainwater for distribution to the home’s surrounding ponds and streams. The steep lot draws on elements of a 7th century Japanese temple, and there are panoramic views of the nearby city.

Beverly Skyline Residence Gallery

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Mona Vale Residence, Sydney

This contemporary home is a model for sustainability, but that doesn’t stop with solar panels on the roofs. A 15,000-liter tank recycles rain and greywater, evacuated tubes in the floor provide heating and hot water and a north-facing skylight brings in natural light. The views of Mona Vale Beach can’t hurt, either.

Mona Vale House Gallery

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Private Home by Wallflower, Singapore

By moving bedrooms and living areas to the second floor, Wallflower Architecture was able to free the ground level from the typical need for privacy walls. Instead, the home flows openly from pool to garden to dining room, soaking in the beautiful outdoors. Thanks to thick exterior walls, natural air flows through this home’s luxurious courtyards.

Wallflower Private Home Gallery

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Thanks for reading, DesignCravers, Diggers, Stumblers and otherwise.  What is your favorite home from this list?  Do you prefer something a bit more traditional?  Is there a home you’ve seen released in the last few years that you’d add to this list?  Let us know in the comments, we’d love to know your thoughts.  If you’re interested in more great architecture related articles like the one above, here are a few you might enjoy: