To the world’s collective envy, Paul de Ruiter Architects have designed an energy-efficient house in the Netherlands that also happens to look killer. Raising half the structure above the landscape in a glazed glass box, the other half is beneath a pool of water, minimizing energy use and impact on the site, which is a protected ecological area. The raised level’s floating effect is achieved by sitting it on a V-shaped steel frame that supports the glazed box, while at the other end, the top level a staircase links it to the underground space. Inside, various glass walls and partitions maintain a sense of openness and space (Remember people, feng shui is everything), and a large picture window in the office overlooks a massive artificial lake. Because of the land’s protected status, the owners were required to return the environment to its original pre-agricultural state before building, and thus planted 71,000 young trees that will eventually shield the house from view.

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