In need of a little escapism? These homes, featured in new book Living on Vacation, take the idea of isolation from the outside world to a whole other level.  

 Vega Norge writers house in norway, by Erik Kolman Janush - self builds - grand designs

Image: Kolman Boye

You may be stuck indoors, holidays for the year cancelled, but that doesn't mean you can't do a little bit of armchair travelling. Living on Vacation: Contemporary Houses for Tranquil Living is a brand new title, published by Phaidon on 17th April, £29.95, which offers you the chance to see some incredible homes from the most beautiful places around the world. 

The Grand Designs magazine team had a sneak peek ahead of the launch of the book, and picked some of their favourite homes, each set in splendid isolation of a unique natural landscape. 

Writer's House, Norway, Kolman Boye 

Located on an archipelago of around 6,500 islands, islets, and reefs just south of the Arctic Circle in northern Norway, this project borrows stylistic cues from Norwegian coastal huts known as Naust.

The building crouches on low stilts above the rocky ground, with one of the two hut-like buildings higher up the slope than the other. The path leading to the home sits inside a small trench, giving the appearance that the structure is completely cut off from the outside world on his rocky outcrop. 

Island Retreat, New Zealand, Fearon Hay

Island Retreat home in new zealand by fearon hay - self builds - grand designs

Image: Fearon Hay 

Waiheke is an island paradise just 45 minutes by ferry away from Auckland, New Zealand. This Island Retreat by Fearon Hay architects is formed of 3 separate dwellings around a courtyard - two for sleeping and living, and the third functioning as a studio.

The choice of concrete and steel as materials keep the aesthetic comfortably utilitarian rather than luxurious. Inside, concrete walls and floors continue the spare, unadorned feel. Totally off-grid, the house powers itself with solar energy, harvests rainwater, and recycles wastewater. 

Árborg House, Iceland, PKdM Arkitektar

Arborg house in iceland by pkdm architects - self builds - grand designs

Image: PKdM Arkitektar

This weekend retreat overlooks a bend in the Hvítá, a river in Iceland which in springtime carries icebergs down to the sea, 60 miles away. 
The exterior of Árborg House is a mde up of concrete blended with gravel from the riverbed, giving it the appearance of just-cooled lava, while moss excavated from the site was carefully moved, sustained, and then reused to add a soft, green, bulky layer to the roof. All this roots the home sensitively within this epic landscape. 

Glass Pavilion, Spain, OFIS Architects

Glass Pavilion in granada spain by OFIS architects - self builds - grand designs

Image: OFIS Architects

In Andalusia’s remote Gorafe desert, this extraordinary little retreat is a place to disconnect completely and discover what solitude really means. Designed by Slovenian studio OFIS Arhitekti, the Glass Pavilion began as a research project that aimed to prove that glass can be used as a fully structural element, but the residence is available as a holiday rental, where visitors can lie back to watch shooting stars streak through a night sky unspoiled by light pollution. 

 

Would you love a home in an isolated place like these? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page. 

 

RELATED ARTICLES

Kitchen inspiration: an ode to oak in a coastal New Zealand self-build

Inspiring self-build home ideas using shipping containers

Inside this sculptural self build on the Kent coast

Kevins Column

Top self build highlights at Grand Designs Live 2019 hosted by Kevin McCloud

Find top experts, specialist exhibitors and a wealth of inspiration for your self-build or renovation project all under one roof.
visit-award-winning-grand-designs-live-hosted-by-kevin-mccloud
house-of-2030-winners
Self Build Homes

Home of 2030: winning build concepts for housing of the future revealed

A self build concept is among two winners of this government-backed competition. Take a look at these future forward building ideas.
design-a-bespoke-staircase
Self Build Homes

Meer End can design your dream bespoke staircase

Bespoke joinery and staircases can really lift a home. We look at how you can add a classic or contemporary staircase to your grand design.
help-to-build-scheme
Self Build Homes

Help to Build: Government announces new scheme for custom and self builders

With the government's announcement of a Help to Build scheme, discover the details you need to know.
south-africa-narrow-house-frankie-pappas
Self Build Homes

Inside a narrow woodland home, built without demolishing a single tree

With a brief to preserve every tree in this dense woodland site, architect Frankie Pappas created a linear, narrow home that is threaded through this...
baufritz-prefabricated-self-build-homes
Self Build Homes

Discover why a prefabricated house might be perfect for you

German-engineered prefabricated homes are a byword for quality and sustainability. Discover the secrets of the methods in making these fabulous modern houses.
jackon-insulated-concrete-formwork
Self Build Homes

Why Insulated Concrete Formwork self-builds are the low energy homes of the future

Insulated Concrete Formwork Systems have arrived in the UK – a construction method that makes new builds quick to assemble and with stunning insulation properties....