Critical recognition, while key to an architect’s reputation, can be a vital guidepost in the buying of luxury properties. Here, Luxury Defined puts the spotlight on five properties that have either won an architectural award or are the creative vision of architects with accolades from institutions such as AIA, AD100, and the “Nobel Prize of architecture” itself, the Pritzker. Consider a contemporary Cycladic villa overlooking the Aegean Sea, or a modernist ski chalet suspended between mountain, river, and sky; savor the lifestyle of a great English country house, without the upkeep. Settle into an ultra-chic Hollywood hideaway high above the Sunset Strip, or samba on a seafront terrace over Ipanema Beach. Architectural awards are the grace notes; the music is in the living.
3 West Court
Burley, Rutland, England
Forming part of the west wing of Burley on the Hill, a magnificent, Grade I listed English manor house, 3 West Court underwent renovation in the mid-1990s by the acclaimed British architect Kit Martin CBE, a specialist in the sympathetic division of grand country houses, and winner of Country Life’s Genius of the Place Award in 2007. Though built in the 1690s, the home’s updated interior spaces (in muted gray and cream) are gracious, thoroughly modern, and inviting, from the west-facing, contemporary breakfast kitchen and sitting room, to the four spacious bedrooms and two luxurious bathrooms. A walled garden, accessed from both kitchen and sitting room, makes an ideal space for outdoor entertaining and access to the estate’s 67 acres of resplendent parkland.
The St. Lawrence Estate
Petite-Riviere-Saint-Francois, 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, it was awarded a 2014 Nobilis prize for architecture and has been featured in Wallpaper and Architectural Digest. The bold, three-story, cantilevered structure is anchored into the hillside to showcase the panoramic vista of the river, evergreen forests, and Le Massif Mountain, yet it invites with serene living spaces warmed by woodburning fireplaces and sunlight that streams in from the abundant fenestration. Built with the thrill of the outdoors in mind, the home’s setting in Charlevoix, near Baie St-Paul, is on the doorstep of some of the most challenging pistes in North America.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This opulent, terraced penthouse, crowns a magnificent Ipanema beachfront building designed by the late Pritzker Prize winning architect Oscar Niemeyer, whose seminal works include the Headquarters of the United Nations and the Cathedral of Brasilia. This apartment, updated by Studio Arthur Casas, has a contemporary layout with sophisticated finishes, including Ornare cupboards, marble floors, and woodwork from Clamom. Its vast, open-plan living spaces include a first-floor living room, dining room, breakfast room, media room, wine cellar, and gourmet kitchen with industrial-grade fixtures. Five en suite bedrooms on the second floor include the master suite, with two walk-in closets, two bathrooms, and spectacular ocean views. Staff quarters on the third floor offer five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living room.
Los Angeles, California
This contemporary residence, by multi-award-winning Belzberg Architects, takes in the full spectrum of the City of Angels from atop one of the great promontories along Hollywood’s famed Sunset Strip. The minimalist interiors create a fluid living environment. Highest quality finishes include frameless glass doors by Rimadesio, a chef’s kitchen by Dada, and bathrooms by Antonio Lupi. The luxurious features continue with smart-home automation, a theater and bar, a wine room, and gym. There are five bedrooms and six bathrooms, including a separate master suite, which is cantilevered above the pool deck for dramatic effect. The master bathroom is a spa-like retreat complete with soaking tub overlooking the glimmering lights of Century City.
Perfectly integrated into its spectacular hilltop setting, Kratir commands a 360-degree panorama of the Cycladic islands and the Aegean Sea. The winner of the 2004 ar+d Emerging Architecture award, this modernist masterwork by Athenian design firm Deca ARCHITECTURE is a celebration of traditional Cycladic architecture with a 21st-century twist. The 6,135-square-foot residential compound is connected by 7,911 square feet of terraces. The main residence has three floors of fluid indoor-outdoor living areas. The ground floor features a dining room, Boffi kitchen, and three guest suites, each with direct access to the grounds. Upstairs, a master bedroom opens onto to a broad terrace. The lower level houses a cinema, offices, and staff quarters. There’s also a guest cottage and a remarkable 82-foot infinity pool facing the Strait of Antiparos.