In places the gardens are so lush and overgrown that it is not possible to even discern the existence of a house. Is this a new form of green home perhaps? In some cases, the only clue to a residence is a driveway, usually marred with an ugly "Keep Out" sign.
When architect Chris Watkins built his Adelaide Hills house, he wanted it to blend in to the surrounding environment as much as possible. Covering the exterior of the house with a thin veneer of copper has produced a rich dark brown colour which will slowly change with time.
The final colour of the house will vary depending on the location and what it is exposed to, but the results are sure to be interesting and unusual, if not unique.
This house looks almost like a chalet - while very much at home in Adelaide I feel it could be transported to the Swiss Alps and not be out of place. I'm not convinced the colouring is perfect for blending in, but I still like the appearance of the house.
Is This a House or a Solar Farm in the Adelaide Hills?
My last selection from the Adelaide hills is another house that blends in well, at least from some angles. Made of modern materials, it is best described as a rectangle with rounded corners. When I Googled that shape in an attempt to find a word to describe the shape, I discovered that Apple has apparently patented it. Could this building be confused with an iPad?
One of the best examples of building green to a sustainable design can be found on Sturt Street in the city. Christie Walk is an urban village of green homes designed by architect Paul Downton to be environmentally friendly.
The 27 dwellings are part of a sustainable building complex, and their designs are highly unconventional. There is a roof garden which acts as a thermal buffer in addition to providing a place of pleasure for residents.
Large areas of the buildings are shaded by climbing or hanging plants, which are selected for their low water requirements. Buildings are positioned to maximise natural light, and passive insulation is extensively used together with double glazing for windows.
Adelaide's Most Unusual Houses: Christie Walk Tower House
There are a multitude of other features designed to minimise the community's environmental footprint. A small alley at the entrance to the precinct houses the Christie Walk Story Wall, describing the history and goals of the development.
For an even better look, book a tour of this sustainable development for a small fee. It looks great value if you are interested in sustainable design.
Despite the best efforts of the Weatherill government and Heritage Minister Caica to eradicate any architecture that remains standing from previous centuries, we still have a scattering of beautiful old mansions. Sadly it seems Parliament House is exempt from demolition.
In this article I will touch on a few only. I don't think that they are necessarily the best, but they are grand mansions and well worthy of being more widely seen.
Carramar (once known as St Margaret's) has already been covered in a previous article, but its future is seriously at risk because the government needs to recoup some of the ridiculous overspending that the fat cats of the Health Department incur. While other organisations incur "deficit" or "debt", the SA Health Department merely suffers "cost pressures". This in no way prevents spending more money, it just means scheduling another trip to Treasury to get a top-up.
The National Trust have highlighted Carramar in its Heritage at Risk program. It will be a great loss for SA if the government allows this beautiful State heritage listed home to be replaced by a seven story office building.
Cummins House doesn't really qualify as a mansion, having started life as a cottage. Subsequent additions have combined to give it an unusual and attractive character. But this place is steeped richly in South Australian history, and is surrounded by delightful gardens well tended by volunteers.
To visit Cummins House is like stepping back in time, as the interior is well preserved and many of the contents are original from the period when the house was in use by the original owners.
Once upon a time, many years ago, a man named Derek Jolly bought a new house to live in at North Adelaide. Now Derek was a little unconventional and also moderately wealthy, so he chose a Futuro "space ship" home to land in North Adelaide.
The Futuro house was made in the 1960's and early 1970's and was a round prefabricated house originally designed as a ski cabin by a Finnish man. It was quite popular originally although ultimately only less than 100 were made.
It certainly polarised opinion at the time, but after his death the house was sold and has now "flown" to a remote location at Deep Creek, somewhere in the Cape Jervis area.
You can learn rather more, and see a picture of the Futuro in its original location here.
Futuro House Resembles a Spaceship (Photo Bill Doyle)
Now Adelaide's modern homes are not to be outdone by a 50 year old, even if it does look like a UFO. Architect Max Pritchard has pushed the envelope to come up with some very unusual but practical designs.
What do you do If your block of land has a creek running right though it? No problem, take a look at this.
How to get the best views for a new house in the Barossa Valley? Just build a 60 metre long house made mostly of glass! This amazing house was featured on Grand Designs Australia series 3.
Take a look at the Pritchard website and check out some of the truly unconventional designs.
Of course Max Pritchard isn't the only Adelaide architect to produce an off the wall design. Take a look down in Port Elliot where architect Shane Hendriks has come up with something highly unusual.
Looking a little like a child's set of building blocks after being stamped on, this house is a showcase for Terraçade tiles - a new light weight and low maintenance building product. I'm not sure what it would be like to live in it, but it does make me feel a little seasick just looking at it for a while.
So there is my selection of Adelaide's more unusual homes. Do you think you can better it? Have you seen something even more funky or unusual?
Architecture and design are major interests of mine and I've just spent ages clicking on the links and checking out some of these interesting houses (while I should have been editing - back to work now!).
I wish more people would think outside the boring housing-developer box when it comes to houses. A house is supposed to be a place of shelter and refuge and living, and that can be provided in so many different and interesting forms.
Was waiting eagerly to see what houses you would come up with Dave. I like going up to Mt Osmond to see firework displays without the crowds. Out of interest where do you go about finding out who the architect is behind the design of a building?
Wow what a space age shaped house.I really love it,I just wish to be there to view in one of the good days though I don't know where is it situated.that is really a unique $ beautiful house I've ever seen.