With television shows such as Grand Designs as popular as ever around the world, the spotlight continues to be on properties that shun the conventional in favour of the inspirational. Here's a look at five of the world's best - properties that take architectural design to another level.
From homes designed to inspire by design to those that evoke a very emotional response, there is no doubt that there are some unforgettable properties out there in equally unforgettable locations.
A Spiritual Home
Japanese architectural maestro Tadao Ando's design in Monterrey, Mexico, is stunning in its simplicity. In an enviable location, set against a hillside in the Cumbres de Monterrey National Park with spectacular vistas of the Sierra Las Mitras mountains, Casa Monterrey is the epitome of Ando's Zen philosophy.
A home for a family, akin to the historic developments by companies such as City and Country, the Casa stretches over three floors and is centred around a striking double-height library.
An Open House
Casa HS Quinta Da Baroneza in Sao Paulo in Brazil comprises a stunning 'open' design and a spectacular outlook over an immaculate golf course set amidst the natural landscape. Renowned developers around the world, such as City and Country, look for location appeal as well as property potential, and this house has it all.
The design creates a rectangle and a cube, both of which are totally open to the views outside. Other features include a patio with a retractable roof and an undulating swimming pool, but it is the glass sliding doors, allowing the outdoors to merge with the interior, that really make this house special. From the street, Casa HS may look like a fairly simple abode, but a closer inspection reveals that it is, in fact, anything but.
The Unusual Find
Enter most quiet Tokyo neighbourhoods, and you would expect to find little more than a mass of concrete block walls, typical of a dense residential area. House NA by Sou Fujimoto, however, is the exception to the rule.
This 914 sq ft house revels in its transparency, in stark contrast to those concrete blocks, whilst the interior is centred around the idea of living in a tree. There are no fewer than 21 floor plates inside, all positioned at varying heights, which were designed to satisfy clients who wanted to live like nomads - but in their own home.
After the Storm
Sri Lanka's tsunami tragedies are well documented, but Shigeru Ban's reconstruction vision offers a chink of light in stormy skies. His Villa Vistas in Weligama is a triumph of hilltop positioning and design, allowing for an awe-inspiring selection of cliffside, jungle and ocean views.
At One with the Land
BF House in Spain is an imposing 25 metres in height but demonstrates how it is still possible to build with attitude whilst still showing respect to the natural environment. Prefabricated building systems were used to minimise the impact on the Castellón de la Plana land, taking advantage of the existing garden and terrace areas.