Embracing the Diversity of Contemporary Home Designs

Sponsored by Marvin

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the innovative and timeless design features employed in a wide array of recent residential architecture projects.
  2. Discuss ways in which specific landscape and topography features can inform custom home design.
  3. List the range of design strategies and materials utilized in the featured custom home projects from both an aesthetic and practical perspective.
  4. Explain how climate influenced design decisions on several of the featured homes.


2.25 AIA LU/Elective
AAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
AANB 1 Hour of Core Learning
AAPEI 1 Structured Learning Hour
MAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
NLAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
NSAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
NWTAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the AIBC, as per their CE Guidelines.
This course is approved as a Structured Course
Approved for structured learning
Approved for Core Learning
This course is approved as a Core Course
Course may qualify for Learning Hours with NWTAA
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia
This test is no longer available for credit

This webinar is part of the Custom Home Academy

Below are a set of links to building type studies from Architectural Record, which are in-depth analyses of particular kinds of buildings, with photos, drawings, specifications, detailed descriptions, and design solutions. Click on each link below, read the article then complete the quiz to earn your credit and certificate of completion.

This course will feature more than two dozen Architectural Record “Record Houses”—projects selected specifically for their embrace of experimental, imaginative, and unexpected approaches, and which also exhibit a strong sense of craft, exploration of materials, and skillful manipulation of spaces.

Cupertino House by Craig Steely Architecture
Cupertino, California
A California house floats among a dense grove of Oak trees.

Hive House by Studio 512
Austin, Texas
A triangular site with lush greenery informs the design of a private residence.

House 24 by Park + Associates
The unique triangular-shaped site and the surrounding greenery were a driving force behind the overall planning and design of the house.

Brick Townhouse Renovation by William Tozer Associates
A London-based firm renovates an existing brick townhouse in the borough of Camden.

The Terraces House by Accent DG
The design for this two-story, single-family villa in Lebanon’s Chouf Mountains was inspired by the surrounding terrain.

Fabhaus by Materia
Mexico City, Mexico
A Mexico City-based firm designed a poured-in-place concrete home that embraces the site's topography.

Villa Rosa Sketch House by Malfona Petrini Architetti
Rome, Italy
For a villa in Rome, the design team placed series of pavilions at different elevations in the landscape.

Bach with Two Roofs by Irving Smith Architects
Golden Bay, New Zealand
Between 2007 and 2012, the architect built a cluster of four houses to provide holiday accommodations in a New Zealand forest.

Brooklyn Heights Carriage House by Delson or Sherman Architects
Brooklyn, New York
The renovation of a Brooklyn carriage house brings in natural light and a connection to the outdoors.

Martis Camp 457 by Blaze Makoid Architecture
Truckee, California
The five-bedroom house is located on a heavily wooded, steeply sloping site within a 2,200-acre multigenerational ski and golf club.

Tropical House by Jannina Cabal Arquitectos
Samborondón, Ecuador
The architect was tasked with designing a single-family house that would respectfully respond to its context within a residential neighborhood and be suitable for the tropical setting.

AB House by Pitsou Kedem Architects
Tel Aviv, Israel
This single-family residence is housed within two perpendicular rectilinear volumes.

Sunset House by Mcleod Bovell Design
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Situated on a very steep and technically challenging site, the house was designed for a family of four to capture expansive views of the harbor and heavy marine traffic along the jagged West Vancouver coastline.

Los Gatos Home by Mark English Architects
Los Gatos, California
The project is a renovation and addition to an existing single-family midcentury hillside house.

Aspen Residence by CCY Architects
Aspen, Colorado
The goal was to create a multigenerational residence that embraces the individual lifestyles of each family member.

Ontario Residence by David Jameson Architect
Washington, D.C.
A Maryland-based architect reimagines the row house within a narrow urban site.

Maison sur le Lac by ACDF Architecture
A house on a Quebec lake takes cues from the openness of its natural surroundings.

The Live Oak House by Rory Reynolds + Associates
A LEED Platinum-certified house overlooking a historic lighthouse is built around a decades-old live oak tree.

Homebrew Residence by Benjamin Hall Design
Benjamin Hall Design adds a modern twist to an early 20th century bungalow.

Watermill House by Office of Architecture
Southampton, New York
A challenging site within a floodplain in Southampton, New York, guided the design for a summer house’s multivolume form.

Grange Triple Double House by Williamson Williamson
A multiunit Toronto housing complex is an urban prototype for inter-generational families.

‘A’ House by Chang Kyu Lee/GEBDESIGN
South Korea
A South Korean house with a traditional gable roof maintains a sense of privacy.

Swartberg House by Openstudio Architects
Karoo Desert, South Africa
A single-family home near the Karoo Desert in South Africa brings inhabitants closer to spectacular natural surroundings.

Lost Loft by Luc Berne
Hermosa Beach, California
A split-level home in Hermosa Beach, California, exudes quiet sophistication.

Sierra Fria by JJRR/Arquitectura
Mexico City
A four-bedroom, Mexican Modern-style house welcome visitors with extensive glazing and generous outdoor spaces.

Newberg Residence by Cutler Anderson Architects
Newberg, Oregon
Clients on a farm in Oregon wanted a single-family residence and guesthouse with a close, living connection to their natural surroundings.

The Rough House by Measured Architects
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
The Rough House is a single-family residence rooted in handmade craft and built to showcase local artisans and their design processes.

Seneca House by Simitch and Warke Architecture
Lodi, New York
The clients—a chef and an artist—wanted a private, three-bedroom residence, an artist’s studio, and a separate apartment joined to the restaurant that they own and run, also designed by the architect.
Alex Klimoski

Main Stay House by Matt Fajkus Architecture
Austin, Texas
A young family of four sought a five-bedroom home with a pool in an artsy, eccentric neighborhood of Austin with strict zoning specifications and large existing trees.
Miriam Sitz

Embracing the Diversity of Contemporary Home Designs

Photo courtesy of Juan Alberto Andrade + Cuqui Rodriguez – JAG Studio


Marvin Marvin makes windows and doors that make homes feel comfortable and secure by putting people first to achieve beautiful design and exceptional quality so that people can live happier, healthier lives. Marvin has served as a trusted partner to architects, builders and homeowners for more than 100 years. Learn more at Marvin.com

Originally published in May 2018