Thirty of the world’s leading architects, including Norman Foster, Thom Mayne, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, talk about the houses they designed for themselves over the past decade. What inspired them, what were the constraints, how did their concepts take shape? Michael Webb explores the creative process and traces the influence of architects’ houses over the past two hundred years, from Jefferson’s Monticello to the creations of Charles and Ray Eames, Toyo Ito and Frank Gehry.
Texts, images, sketches and plans are interwoven to illustrate houses that differ widely, in size, material, character and location. There are urban infills, rustic retreats, experiments, and fusions of new and old. They all make a statement, modest or ambitious, and each reflects the personality and tastes of its owner. These architects have accepted the challenge of doing something out of the ordinary, turning constraints to advantage. They give different answers to a crucial question: how can a house enrich lives and its surroundings? Spacious or frugal, refined or rough-edged, daring or reductive, these adventurous dwellings will inspire other architects and everyone who would like to design or commission a house that is one-of-a-kind.