Starchitects are coveted for bringing big ideas to the table and for the "Bilbao effect" cities hope their celebrated names can create just by being attached to a project. But over the last few decades, as developers and density push residential towers ever higher, cynics might say starchitects are earning commissions for bringing their big brands, too, offering not only aesthetic beauty, but a reason to charge more money. The practice is so prevalent now in megacities such as London and New York that there might as well be a Pritzkers Parkway, given the star power cast from the tall towers in high-end neighborhoods. These aren't, as the saying goes, the "new cathedrals of our times," but that doesn't mean private residences can't also be incredible works of design. Curbed gathered a list of some of the most compelling starchitecture for rent around the world. While we can't all commission private homes, perhaps a few more of us can be tenants.
Cite Radieuse by Le Corbusier: Marseille, France
Duplex starts at $1,505/month
Corbusier's grand experiment and habitat system in Marseille, landmark urban housing designed with his signature visual flair, including the colored window panels on the facade and murals on the ground level, may be the most historically significant structure on this list. Made of beton brut (raw concrete) due to post-war material shortages, this is the building that brought you the term Brutalism. If you aren't ready to sign on for 12 months of Corbu, you can always stay in this Airbnb for a few days and take it for a test drive.
One Hyde Park by Richard Rogers: London, England
5-bedroom flat for roughly $300,000/month
This series of four ultra-luxe residential towers, a £1 billion development for individuals too big to fail that was built in the middle of the crash of Lehman Brothers, has been called the Damien Hirst of architecture. Rogers said it's an immaculately crafted complex, with every carefully chosen material meant for a purpose. While the design of the buildings is much less ostentatious than some of its owners, Rogers's creation can't shake its status as a symbol of the one percent using luxe real estate as another investment tool. So many of these units stand empty, simply functioning as an investment, that Rogers himself called for a tax on absentee owners.
Lafayette Park by Mies van der Rohe: Detroit, Michigan
Studios start at $629 a month
"Mies for the middle class" could have been the slogan for this Motor City housing development, considered one of the first urban renewal projects in the nation. While he needed to design within parameters (and budgets) that would results in affordable units, Mies only compromised on materials when designing the townhomes and towers, not workmanship. The resulting 78-acre park, townhomes and high rises, designed in concert with landscape architect Alfred Caldwell and planner Ludwig Hilberseimer, still stand as a vibrant part of Detroit.
8 House by Bjarke Ingels: Copenhagen, Denmark
Penthouse for $1,765/month
There's no shortage of hype over Ingles's forthcoming tetrahedron in New York and the Vancouver House, a high-rise that cuts a silhouette that's one part corkscrew and one part nearly finished Jenga game. But the buzzed-about architect has more experience with the residential game than most of his peers. Take the 8 House, a 10-story bowtie of apartment blocks that creates a raised path above a span of nearly 500 apartments. Striking from a distance, the structure turns common space and tenant amenities into a work of art. Try it out for just $142 a night.
Horizontal Skyscraper by Steven Holl: Shenzen, China
Flipping the script on the vertical boom in big Chinese cities, the Vanke Center in Shenzen rests on eight legs, a tower in recline stretching as far horizontally as the Empire State Building. One of Holl's larger mixed-use projects, the suspended series of apartments, offices and hotel rooms allow ocean breezes and tropical gardens to wrap underneath, with sunken "Shenzen Windows" providing panoramic views of the landscape.
Aqua Tower by Jeanne Gang: Chicago, Illinois
Studios from $1,732/month
Jeanne Gang's 82-story skyscraper, a standout amid the pack of architectural icons that define the city's skyline, was given the maritime moniker because other buildings in the nearby development shared the same theme. The real inspiration for Gang's wave-like balconies, which provide a distinctive ebb and flow amid the facade while cutting wind sheer, were natural limestone formations found around the Great Lakes region. The undulating shape of each floor, all individual patterns precisely poured via concrete, creates a new type of sculptural skyscraper.
New York by Gehry by Frank Gehry: New York, New York
Studio starting at $3,190/month
Gehry's first skyscraper, this 76-story tower at first looks at first glance like his sculptural shapes stretched to their limit, bulbous ribbons nearly stretched taut. But view the building from the insides, where the curves aren't just decoration but the beginnings of inverted bay windows and intriguing views, and it's not just Gehry redux.
∙ Complete Renters Week 2015 coverage [Curbed]