Next Episode of The World's Most Extraordinary Homes is
Award-winning architect Piers Taylor and actress and property enthusiast Caroline Quentin (who previously presented Restoration Home for BBC Two) explore a range of incredible architect-designed houses in extreme locations around the world.Whether built into the side of a cliff, nestled in a forest, perched at the top of a mountain or under the earth, these are homes that connect to their environment in a spectacular way.Each episode of the 4x60' series is themed according to the houses' environments: Coast, Forest, Mountain and Underground, with Caroline and Piers travelling to locations ranging from North America, Australasia and Europe.To explore how these dramatic designs function as both works of architecture and as real houses, they stay overnight, eat meals and spend time in the homes. Piers and Caroline are a new and entertaining pairing of a property expert and an architect, both bringing their own expertise, humour and experience as they meet some of the owners and architects of these incredible buildings.
In the final episode Piers and Caroline's journey starts on the Greek island of Anti Paros, to visit a nine-bedroom house that is hidden beneath the landscape and yet still achieves stunning sea views. As they discover, the green roof allows the underground spaces to be invisible so only the pool terrace and white-washed walls are on view.
Their next stop takes them to the lush valleys of the Swiss Alps, where the owner architect made his four-bedroom house so invisible it has to be accessed via a tunnel from the traditional agricultural barn that was already on the site. Piers and Caroline emerge into the main house, its concave façade revealing panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
Next it's over to New Zealand's South Island, to a house that was built underground to soften the impact on the indigenous landscape while at the same time being heavily engineered to withstand the threat of earthquakes. Dynamite was used to excavate 5,000 cubic metres of earth and rock to create the three-bedroom main house and annex, constructed from concrete and cloaked with an engineered wing-shaped roof.
Lastly, Caroline and Piers cycle to visit a very different underground house nestled in a nature reserve in the outskirts of Amsterdam, Holland. The four-bedroom family house was created by deep excavation and then by stacking the bedrooms and bathrooms across three floors on the north side, allowing for a huge light-filled open-plan living space facing south.
Presenters Piers Taylor and Caroline Quentin travel to Portugal for the first time to find another four extraordinary homes. They are keen to visit a country that has a reputation for great design and craftsmanship but is less exhibitionist than its European neighbours. Their first house is located in the Portuguese Riviera, an upmarket area west of Lisbon. From the road Wall House gives little away, hiding behind its modern castle-like wall. But crossing a contemporary drawbridge Piers and Caroline discover a huge, breathtaking luxury home of glass, wood and concrete.
Piers Taylor and Caroline Quentin travel to Switzerland. Architecture here is influenced by the neighbouring European countries and the dramatic landscape has inspired four homes that all make the most of astonishing views. They start their journey in a tiny hamlet called Jeurs, 1,300 metres up in the Alps and in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Maison Aux Jeures is a four-bedroom house, commissioned by Olivier and Celine, a young Geneva couple who wanted a bolthole to escape their hectic work life. They asked architect Simon Chessix to design something unique and bold. He built a contemporary take on a Swiss chalet - a V-shaped house, split down the middle and separated into two 45-degree angles. The exterior walls are clad with black-stained larch and the angular roofs echo the mountain peaks.
Piers Taylor and Caroline Quentin travel to Japan, a country who combines innovation with traditional design. And with land at a premium here, small is definitely beautiful. House one is in Izura, on the coast, two hours east of Tokyo. The owner Hiroshi, a fisherman, lost everything in the earthquake of 2011. His new family home, high on a hillside, is nothing like a fisherman's hut. It is a beautiful V-shaped building entirely made of wood with a dramatic design that echos the trees around it. The house is held high in the air by three large pillars of splayed wooden struts that could flex to withstand an earthquake.
Next stop is Jikka House in Izukogen. Old friends Nobuko and Sachiko wanted to create a retirement home for themselves and a cafe for the local community. Nobuko's son, an architect, came up with five linked tepee-like structures, clad in hundreds of curved pieces of cedar. Set in woodland and full of quirky decor Caroline describes Jikka as a 'fairy-tale' home.
In Japan nine out of ten people live in the city so Piers and Caroline go to Hiroshima to see Optical Glass House. Built beside a busy main road this unusual home is a peaceful sanctuary. Inside, Architect Hiroshi Nakamura designed a giant 13-tonne wall of optical glass and behind this 'crystal curtain' a beautiful internal garden with trees stretching up to the sky. Changing light and the shadows of silent passing vehicles add to the magic of this oasis. For Piers this house is 'a shrine to beauty and silence.'
The final property, 'Glass House for a Diver' is on the coast at Etajima. Owner Mr Haragami gave his architect free-reign to design a stunning coastal house. The result - an all-glass building inspired by the chambers of an ants' nest. But the real twist is the choice of rough concrete blocks that surround this delicate home; beauty hidden within a brutal exterior. It is a challenging glamorous house with spectacular views of the sea from every angle.
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