One of the fiercest and most fascinating of Brutalist houses, Juliaan Lampens’ design is a concrete fetishist’s dream. In a neighbourhood of quiet wealth near Ghent, the 1974 house is a radical statement of open living. There is little privacy — even the bedroom is only defined by a half-height circular timber wall — but the weight of the structure, the texture of the concrete and the openness to the garden give it a cavelike feeling of security and retreat. Lampens is still little known but is on the verge of becoming a cult figure. Sleeps two, from €250 per night; museumdd.be.
This Rio house, overlooking Sugarloaf Mountain and the Guanabara Bay, is the work of architect Wladimir Alves de Souza. He is not one of the best-known architects outside his homeland but a significant figure in the development of Brazilian Brutalism and this 1974 house is one of his most engaging works. A tropical cocktail of vernacular, spectacular and low-key, jazzy modernism, complemented by Mid-Century furniture and pieces made by local designers, it seems suitable that it should also incorporate an apparently very fine recording studio. Super cool. Sleeps up to 14 in seven bedrooms, from R960 (£128) per room per night or R9500 for the whole house; georges.life
If you’ve seen the film Ex Machina you may have been both charmed and chilled by the home of Oscar Isaac’s magically creepy tech tycoon. Those scenes with a backdrop of craggy, epic nature were mostly filmed in the Juvet Landscape Hotel, not in Alaska but in Norway. Designed by the architects Jensen & Skodvin, it presents the perfect opportunity to position yourself in that villain’s lair you always wanted. Double rooms from NKr3,900 (£332); juvet.com
You want modernism? Why not go right to the source? The Bauhaus building in Dessau was designed by Walter Gropius in 1925 and it became the epicentre of modernism, influential not only through the students who studied there and their teachers but as a monument in itself. Its glass walls, ribbon windows, nautical balconies and constructivist massing became the model for everything from schools and factories to housing estates and universities across the world. You can visit for guided tours and even stay in one of the small studios where the students once lived. The 23 rooms are spartan but feature reproductions of the original furniture and fittings. Stripped back modernist austerity in its elemental state. Doubles from €60 per night; bauhaus-dessau.de.
Hans Scharoun is one of the less well-known names of German modernism but one of its greatest architects. His Berlin Philharmonie concert hall looks as radically open, democratic and fluid as it did when it was built in 1963. His Haus Schminke (1933) shows some of those same tendencies, a modernism that is organic and flowing rather than cubic and orthogonal, with terraces and rooms shooting off in all directions, attempting to attract the sun into every corner.
Built by a spaghetti magnate on the grounds of his pasta factory near the Czech border, it was appropriated by the Red Army in 1945 and then became a socialist youth club. Now restored, it is an invigorating capsule of modernity. Sleeps up to 12, from €250 per night for two people, €60 per additional guest; stiftung-hausschminke.eu
Not a house but a whole collection, this raft of striking dwellings was intended as a mechanism to allow everyone to enjoy the benefits of architect-designed, unique houses for at least a few days and, perhaps, spark a new appreciation of architecture. Initiated by the philosopher Alain de Botton, with houses by renowned architects including John Pawson, Peter Zumthor, MVRDV and Sir Michael and Patty Hopkins, it offers an eclectic mix of styles and approaches.
Best of the lot in my view is an eccentric masterpiece by Charles Holland and Grayson Perry, A House for Essex — a bizarre candy world of influences from the Vikings and Gaudi to Pop and PoMo. Bizarrely, it manages to sit comfortably in its countryside setting, looking proudly like one of the best things built in Britain for ages. A House for Essex sleeps four and costs from £1,075 for two nights (but its popularity means bookings are often awarded via a lottery); living-architecture.co.uk
A new book by Stefi Orazi, ‘Modernist Escapes’ (Prestel, published March 4), covers a couple of these and many more. The properties mentioned in Germany and the UK are currently closed because of the pandemic.
Edwin Heathcote is the FT’s architecture critic
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