From Albert Frey’s house built into a mountain to John Lautner’s iconic Sheats-Goldstein residence in L.A., these structures take the term ‘back to nature’ to another level. As told by Architectural Digest. 

If there is one architect who arguably pioneered the concept of building cool houses into natural landscapes, it’s Frank Lloyd Wright. The serene Fallingwater home in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, made a serious case for living in nature, and since the house was erected in 1935, plenty of architects have taken a page from Wright’s book. What’s more, so many decades after Wright’s revolution, the technology has made impossible-seeming projects a reality. From a supremely modern cross-shaped residence carved into a giant boulder in the Saudi Arabian desert to a glass box built into the edge of a Canadian cliff, these special houses seem more like livable art. Here, AD takes a look at nine avant-garde homes that coexist with nature in a big way.

Mill Run, Pennsylvania

Frank Lloyd Wright is rightfully one of the Mid-Century Modernist movement’s most famous architects. His buildings, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Unity Temple Oak Park, and his own winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona, are some of the most beloved from the era when clean lines and organic materials reigned. His Fallingwater house, however, is probably the most famous work he designed because it’s built over a natural waterfall on Bear Run. Photo: Archive Photos/Getty Images

Palm Springs, California

Though there are mid-century era homes scattered throughout the world, the biggest collection is in Palm Springs. Case in point: the Frey II house. Named for the Palm Springs local who designed it, American architect Albert Frey, the home served as his long-time residence. He built it into the hillside at the west end of Tahquitz Canyon Way. As its name implies, Frey House II was the architect’s second home in Palm Springs, and he moved in when it was finished in 1964. Photo: Dan Chavkin

British Columbia, Canada

Iranian architect Milad Eshtiyaghi designed what she calls the Mountain House between four preexisting trees that added a bit of color to the rocky cliff on Quadra Island, a scenic stretch of land off the eastern coast of Vancouver. Though there are quite a few levels of the complex residence in the mountains, it’s highly organized: There are specific spaces for the parents and others for their son and his family, and the two are connected by way of a recreation area. Photo: Milad Eshtiyaghi Studio

Joshua Tree, California

Kendrick Bangs Kellogg took a few notes while working under Frank Lloyd Wright. Kellog’s Doolittle House in Joshua Tree took nearly two decades to complete, given the difficult terrain, for artist Bev Doolittle and her husband, Jay. Though it boasts a UFO-like vibe, the Doolittle House has been described as surprisingly warm and cozy—especially from the inside. Photo: Elizabeth Daniels

Hegra, Saudi Arabia

“When I first saw the images of rock cut-tomb architecture of Madain Saleh in Saudi Arabia, I knew I had to use it as an inspiration in an architectural project,” designer Amey Kandalgaonkar says. That project became the House Inside a Rock in the desert of Saudi Arabia. Considering the visual complexity of the rocks at Madain Saleh, she kept things simple in terms of shape and composition. In fact, much of the house was designed with 3D software. was imperative to use simple planes and cubes in order to achieve a visual balance. “When inserting the house into this rock, I tried to keep its visual impact from eye-level at minimum as possible. The real extent of the intervention is revealed only when observed from a bird’s eye,” Kandalgaonkar adds. Photo: Amey Kandalgaonkar

Mendocino, California

With her myriad houses in the air, Iranian architect Milad Eshtiyaghi has proven that she is not afraid of heights. This home, hanging off the edge of a cliff in Mendocino, was specifically designed to give the residents a touch of fear and a lot of excitement. She admits that, even within a home like this, there’s still a sense of calm because it’s so connected to the surrounding nature. To ensure it won’t slide off the cliff, she used a cable system: The elevated cables bear the weight of the home while the lower ones withstand lateral and upward winds. Photo: Milad Eshtiyaghi Studio

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