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8 Amazing Houses That Make a Case for Rainwater Harvesting

Just a few blocks from Le Corbusier's Radiant City stands an entirely different kind of architectural experiment: a musical instrument. Stark and minimalist, Shishiodoshi House (↑) is bejeweled with a two-story fountain that funnels water off the gabled roof and into a cistern below, while creating a sustainable symphony along the way. Let this be a lesson: Rainwater harvesting is no longer for the crunchy, granola, or gross. With rising concerns over water scarcity (we're looking at you California), it's never been more important to supplement your water supply. And along with the Shishiodoshi House, the following projects are brilliant role models.

Country House—Artá, Mallorca

A former shepherd's shelter takes on a stark "V" silhouette under the tutelage of Juan Herreros Arquitectos, who was tasked with transforming the rustic shack into a sustainable vacation home. Clad in mint green aluminum, the home's inverted gabled roof deposits rainwater into an underground cistern.

Slip House—Brixton, London

If you blinked, you may have missed Slip House's brief sojourn on the market. Designed by the venerable Carl Turner Architects, the translucent glass and steel home with a decidedly sculptural, spectral quality was snapped up pretty fast. And with good reason—it contains a nifty 2,000-liter rainwater harvesting tank.

MMMMMS House—Camallera, Spain

Barcelona-based Anna and Eugeni Bach were faced with a hefty constraint before they even began construction. Sited on the outskirts of the village of Camallera, local planning restrictions dictated the incorporation of rural vernacular, which, in this case, meant pitched roofs, local stone, and long, thin windows. Eschewing that idea altogether, the architects recreated a rustic shed that extends into a skeletal framework. Chock full of sustainable features, the architect affixed solar panels and a greywater retention system onto the home.


Villa B—Lyon, France

Tectoniques Architects, a young French firm based in Lyon, created a timber-clad vision that's nothing short of high maintenance. Boasting a laundry list of renewable amenities, the residence comes with a condensation gas boiler, glycolated ground-air heat exchanger (Read: earth tubes), sedum-planted roof, and greywater retention tank. But, there's a catch: The architects admit that the home "requires the occupants to take an interest in [sustainability] and to change their habits."

Sea Glass House—Cowes, Isle of Wright

Clad in inky mosaic tiles, the sinuous curves of this waterfront house are a nod to the Strait of Solent, which sits just a stone's throw away from the Manser Practice-designed home. Underneath lies a vast underground cistern and rainwater harvesting system that funnels into the home's plumbing.

Montville Residence—Montville, Australia

Built in the hinterlands of Australia by Spark Architects, this one-stop shop for social responsibility was originally conceived as a deceptively simple pavilion. Precast concrete rainwater tanks become both thermal buffers and spatial dividers. Buried into the earth under plywood bed nests, ostensibly functional amenities are transformed into sculptural furniture.

A House In The Woods—Hudson Valley, New York

Hunkered behind the Richard Serra-esque cladding of this Hudson Valley home, a bevy of sustainable features prudently save energy. Structural insulated panels, a rainwater harvesting system, and geothermal heating all serve to minimize the expansive home's ecological footprint, which garnered the William Reue-designed abode an enviable LEED Silver certification.

· Here are the Most Impressive New Green Buildings in the U.S. [Curbed]
· All sustainability coverage [Curbed]