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Gizmag presents a look at five of our favorite passively-cooled homes

Home air-conditioning offers near-instant relief from hot weather but is both expensive and resource-heavy to run. Gizmag picks five of our current favorite passively-cooled homes that are environmentally responsible to keep comfortably cool, and – perhaps just as importantly – very desirable to live in.  Read More

Tree in the house, by Kazakhstan-based architect and designer Masov Aibek (Image: A.Masow)

When done right, there's something uniquely appealing about a house in the woods, as evidenced by properties such as the Black Magic House and Espinar House. We can now add Kazakhstan-based Tree in the house, by local architect and designer Masov Aibek, to our growing list of dream woodland getaways – and perhaps it's the most unusual of the bunch.  Read More

It's only $2,000 each, when you think about it

Virgin has announced that work on Richard Branson's private residence on Necker Island is complete, with the house now ready to take its first bookings. So, if you fancied whisking yourself and 29 friends (plus six children) off to a tropical island in the North Atlantic (in the British Virgin Islands, obviously), you're in luck … if you can stretch to the asking price of US$60,000 per night, that is.  Read More

Autofamily House bears more than a little resemblance to a suburban version of Batman's Ba...

Far be it for we at Gizmag to inadvertently reveal the secret identity of a crime-fighting superhero, but let's just say that if Poland had its own version of the Dark Knight, then he'd probably live in this house. Featuring a subterranean car tunnel that runs under the garden and directly into the home, the Autofamily House bears more than a little resemblance to a suburban version of Batman's Batcave.  Read More

The newly opened installation will stay put until October, 2014 (Photo: Alex Chinneck)

It's not unusual to see a project that straddles the worlds of art and architecture, but this piece by Alex Chinneck, wonderfully titled From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes, is surely a stand-out. I'm not sure which is the most eye-catching feature of this bizarre refurbishing of a four-story house: the curving brick facade that seems to have slipped down onto the ground, or the gaping cavity exposing the innards of the top floor as the notional result of said slide.  Read More

Energy Box was completed earlier this year (Photo: Pierluigi Bonomo)

Following the earthquake which struck L'Aquila, Italy, on April 6 2009, Pierluigi Bonomo was tasked with building a replacement home for a family. The architect produced a three floor property, dubbed Energy Box, which features an unusual wooden box-like design, and energy-reducing technologies including passive ventilation, and photovoltaic panels.  Read More

Dutch duo Daniel Venneman and Mark van der Net have created an open source home kit, which...

Dutch duo Daniel Venneman and Mark van der Net have created an open source home kit that allows DIY advocates to build and customize their own micro house. The Hermit House features a unique zigzag floor plan that aims to create a multipurpose interior with a spacious feel, despite its 14 square meter (150 sq. ft.) footprint.  Read More

Pump House, by Branch Studio Architects, was completed this May (Photo: Branch Studio Arch...

It's an obvious point, but it's easy to forget that the most appealing homes don't have to be the most expensive or imposing. We're reminded of this yet again by Pump House – a basic but idyllic weekend retreat designed by Australian firm Branch Studio Architects (BSA). It was built with a modest budget, and boasts the advantage of operating off-the-grid.  Read More

Dune House is located on the crest of a sand dune in North Holland (Photo: Erik Boschman)

Owners of Dutch architecture firm Min2, Jetty and Maarten Min, decided to build themselves a new combined house and studio. Since architecture is the pair's trade, you'd expect the resulting property to impress, and this indeed transpired: Dune House combines an attractive blend of traditional and modern Dutch styling with a measured approach to energy-efficiency, which includes a smart ventilation system, and energy usage monitor.  Read More

House in a Warehouse, by architectural firm Splinter Society, is located in Hawthorne East...

House in a Warehouse, by Melbourne-based architectural practice Splinter Society, saw the transformation of a former industrial space into an efficient family home. The attractive property incorporates storm-water collection, passive cooling, and a computer controlled lighting system to reduce grid-based energy requirements.  Read More

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