Domus Summer

Discover the Domus summer special.
News, projects, archives, and insights.

15 breathtaking beach houses

From Mexico to Korea via the Mediterranean, from spatial sculptures to hidden hideaways, a selection of homes for the summer season celebrating seaside life.

With no intention to re-discuss the age-old history of an instinctual bond uniting sea and human beings when it comes to habitat, with no need to exhume Homer and Franco Battiato, it is easy for us to recognize that such bond, however, has a multiplicity of facets that is truly difficult to embrace all at once.

There are archetypes, between the holiday and the quest for nature, like the pied dans l’eau, the beach house. But there are also several, deep ramifications on which the bond has been built, and over the years Domus has explored many, if not all of them.

The mythologies, including modern ones, of entire territories, such as the Mediterranean of the Côte d’Azur, the Atlantic of Fire Island, the East coast and West coast philosophies, are linked to living by the sea. Entire imaginaries and styles have grown on this way of life, such as the modern Italian villas of the 1960s, already anticipated by forward-looking projects such as those of Daneri, or carried on later by landscape visions such as those in Liguria at Torre del Mare and Arenzano, or those by Umberto Riva in Sardinia.

Or, come to think of it, entire landscapes were also literally invented, with their own peculiar language of relationship with nature, as it happened – and keeps happening – in Costa Smeralda.

In all these expressions, more or less affordable, mimetic, wild, overlooking beaches, rocks or seaside pine forests, the home remains the epicenter of the somehow subterranean – underwater, to be precise – bond that connects us to the sea. We have selected some of the most recent projects presented by Domus that have been able to give such bond expression and materiality.

Surf House, Drawing Works (Kim Youngbae)

This house in Yangyang is designed to be functional for surfers, who come in large numbers to this ocean location in South Korea. At the entrance a patio with a shower is brightened by a large hole that visually connects the ground floor, with the service rooms and guest sleeping area, and the first floor. Special attention is given to the material composition, which considers the salinity of the location.

Casa Falésia D’El Rey, ida arquitectos

The geometric volumes of this house in Portugal use the interplay of solids and voids to create intimate spaces and ocean views. The large outdoor staircase, in addition to being the link to the roof terrace, is an imposing sculptural element.

Casa Cabrita Moleiro, Atelier Data

Situated on a hill in Vale d'el Rei, with a spectacular view of the rural landscape and the Atlantic in the distance, Casa Cabrita Moleiro combines traces of a rural past with a contemporary architectural language. The renovation used locally sourced, recycled and exposed materials, contrasting with the snow-white characteristic of buildings in the area. The memory of the place is also recognisable in the traditional "Açoteia Algarvia", the practicable flat roof typical of the region, overlooking the sea and historically used to dry the products in the sun.

House in El Torón, Ignacio Urquiza Arquitectos

A sequence of terraces, steps and walkways are the central element of this house in Mexico, which follows the profile of the hill on which it stands. The visual and fruitive interaction between domestic and natural space is the main objective of a project that was born in a nature reserve. Considering the importance of preserving the site, 80% of the existing trees on the building plot were replanted, and logistical measures were taken during the construction phase so as not to compromise the vegetation.

Topless House, Avignon Architecte