Evolving from the Mid-century modern movement, contemporary architecture is a reflection of the zeitgeist, or spirit of the age, melding conceptual design with extraordinary feats of engineering. Contemporary structures aren’t defined by a single characteristic, but rather a series of design elements, which together capture the singular expression of the architect. Key themes include geometric, curved, or irregular façades; walls of glass and skylights that emphasize natural light; fluid indoor-outdoor living areas; synergy with the natural landscape; and the utilization of repurposed or sustainable building materials and “green” technologies. In this Luxury Defined collection, we explore some of the most striking examples of contemporary residential architecture on the market today.
551 West 21st Street, 15th Floor
West Chelsea, New York City
Masterfully designed by Foster + Partners, this extraordinary property is the largest and first fully combined apartment within West Chelsea’s 551 West 21st Street. Direct elevator access into a large private vestibule with custom cove lighting offers a stately entrance to the 15th floor, a full-floor residence with over 8,300 square feet of interior space and sweeping views of the Hudson River, downtown Manhattan and beyond. This remarkable home features two distinct wings, separated by an 82-foot grand room, seven bedrooms with en suite baths, two powder rooms, a library, den and media room. Also included are three dedicated parking spaces in the building's valet-attended garage, accessed through a private porte cochère with a 20-foot wall of green ivy. Other amenities include a 34-foot, double height lobby, 24/7 doorman and porter, residents’ lounge, yoga room, children’s playroom, bike storage, and a custom designed gym with sauna and steam rooms.
Pointe Milou, Saint Barthélemy
Villa SIX has an unsurpassed location overlooking Pointe Milou, one of the most beautiful views on the island of St. Barths. The villa offers an exceptional panorama of the spectacular sunset, from the leeward coast of St. Barths to the ocean and the surrounding islets. Designed by architect Olivier Dain, this elegant contemporary home fits perfectly into its environment. The property was constructed with exquisite, globally sourced materials and finishes; among them are Bisazza tile, custom Donald Kaufman paint, Lutron lighting, and Christian Liaigre furniture. The interior appointments include a living room, dining room, and kitchen, which open to a sweeping terrace where a magnificent infinity pool awaits. There are three luxurious bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom, while two have their own private outdoor Jacuzzis.
Villalagos: The Zorzal
Punta del Este, Uruguay
The Zorzal is one of most exclusive ranch estates in Villalagos, a luxury resort and equestrian community set within a protected 225-acre nature reserve near Punta del Este on Uruguay’s Gold Coast. This striking minimalist villa combines cutting-edge contemporary design with luxury amenities for the resort and equestrian lifestyles. The open-concept living spaces are enclosed within walls of glass, which open to multi-tiered terraces with an infinity pool. Surrounding the home are eight acres of ranchland with fenced paddocks. The villa is also positioned to take in the breathtaking views of the nature reserve, Lago Norte lake, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
Lane Meadows Mountain Retreat
Sun Valley, Idaho
Elegant and environmentally friendly, this unique residence is one of the finest homes in Lane Meadows, a new contemporary development just minutes from Ketchum. This unique mountain property features several entertaining areas and intimate family spaces, including five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Indoor-outdoor living is effortlessly achieved via sliding glass doors, which create a fluid floor plan filled with natural light. The interiors are meticulously designed throughout: Porcelanosa tiles, walnut doors and trim, and Poliform cabinetry in the gourmet kitchen are among the fine finishes. Other highlights include a media room with 5.1 surround sound. The outdoor spaces incorporate natural, native landscaping, creating a harmonious environment, while a patio with gas fireplace offers views of the Red Cliffs and the surrounding mountains.
Marrakesh’s La Palmeraie oasis is the enchanting setting for this inspired home which combines ancient building traditions with avant-garde design for an exceptional “living sensation.” The property comprises two villas and tranquil gardens with a beautiful pool and lake overlooking La Palmeraie and the Atlas Mountains beyond. Villa Naël is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional Moroccan riad, designed around a central courtyard with palatial living spaces across two levels. Villa Soan combines multiple courtyards which seamlessly flow into a series of indoor-outdoor living and entertaining areas. Offering more than 32,000 square feet of living space with 12 bedrooms and 5.4 acres of land, this luxurious private compound is a contemporary jewel in the Red City.
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
The Kahana Estate rests on half an acre of prime oceanfront land in West Maui, with over 250 feet of ocean frontage. Perfectly located between Kaanapali and Kapalua, this contemporary estate has no equal in the Hawaiian Islands. Completed in late 2009 and extensively updated in 2015, the main house measures nearly 10,000 square feet with seven oceanfront suites and a one-bedroom ohana. The house epitomizes Pacific Rim architecture: Every room is oceanfront with sweeping views of the island of Lanai and glimpses of Molokai. In the great room, walls of glass seem to disappear by sliding into rock walls. Above is a mezzanine with a sports bar. Outside, the house appears to float in the ocean-side infinity pool, which is enhanced with a spa and waterfalls, and a pool terrace with a fire pit and tiki torches.
Holyport, Berkshire, England
Harford Manor is a masterful interpretation of the traditional English country house as a 21st-century estate for the equestrian and sporting lifestyle. A stately double-height hall marks the entrance to the magnificent 23,500-square-foot manor house. It opens to a two-story galleria with a bespoke stone fireplace. The main floor features elegant reception rooms, a library, art gallery, and an orangery. The second level houses five bedrooms, staff quarters, and the lavish master wing, while the top floor hosts a study with views of the estate and Windsor Castle. The house has a highly sustainable design, with environmental ground source energy providing heating and cooling. The interiors are styled with contemporary bespoke furnishings, artworks, fabrics, and finishes. Harford Manor’s breathtaking 40-acre grounds are composed of woodlands, formal gardens, and world-class amenities, including a tennis court, pool complex, and a polo facility with indoor and outdoor arenas, 10 loose boxes, groom’s quarters, and a tack room.
The St. Lawrence Estate
Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada
The St. Lawrence Estate is a contemporary mountain chalet overlooking Le Massif Ski Resort and the St. Lawrence River. Constructed in 2014 by Bourgeois/Lechasseur Architectes, this one-of-a-kind luxury “lookout” was awarded a Nobilis prize for architecture and has been featured in Wallpaper and Architectural Digest. The bold, cantilevered structure is anchored into the hillside to take in the panoramic vistas of the river, evergreen forests, and Le Massif Mountain from all three levels. The open-plan interior includes three bedrooms and a central living area with kitchen, dining, and sitting areas. Structural members are left exposed to retain the feeling of openness and interest, walls of windows flood the space with sunlight, while log-burning fireplaces impart a welcoming ambiance.