From Spain to Japan and California to New York, the ten best houses covered by Architectural Record this year bring elegance and innovation to the art of residential architecture.

Scroll through the slideshow to see images of our top picks, and click the name of each home to read the article for more information on the architects' inspiration, process, and specifications.

10. Los Limoneros

Gus Wüstemann Architects

Marbella, Spain

A pristine, thick-walled house in southern Spain affords privacy yet openness through its interplay of void and mass.

Photo © Bruno Helbling


9. Oak Pass House

Walker Workshop

Beverly Hills, California

Making the most of rugged topography, an elegant compound gently spills down a slope and carves a courtyard out of the terrain.

Photo © Joe Fletcher


8. The Lightbox

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Point Roberts, Washington

Designed for an architectural photographer, a house in the woods has an innovative spirit and a modular concept that enables Modernism on a budget.

Photo © Nic Lehoux


7. Balint House

Fran Silvestre Arquitectos

Valencia, Spain

Gentle curves and almost seamless surfaces give a Mediterranean house an enigmatic allure, with spaces that flow indoors and out.

Photo © Diego Opazo


6. Carmel Residence

Jim Jennings Architecture

Carmel, California

A simple modernist free plan, organized around outdoor spaces, integrates lessons of the past.

Photo © Joe Fletcher


5. The Mirror Houses

Peter Pichler Architecture

Bolzano, Italy

A pair of attached houses that reflect their Tyrolean setting make the most of little space.

Photo © Oskar Da Riz


4. Shulman Home & Studio

Raphael Soriano/Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects

Los Angeles

A photographer's midcentury house, little changed over the decades, is sensitively restored for a young family.

Photo © Iwan Baan


3. Yamate Street House

Taichi Mitsuya & Associates + UNEMORI ARCHITECTS


A Japanese architect stacks the atelier and dwelling of a local artisan to mesh with the urban environs.

Photo © Shinkenchiku-sha


2. W.I.N.D. House



 Unstudio nestled a home into its natural setting while admitting light and views to the interior.

Photo © Fedde De Weert


1. Pound Ridge House


Pound Ridge, New York

A house wrapped in a sophisticated skin makes the most of a site with challenging topography.

Photo © Peter Aaron/Esto