These sweet summery beach days contain some of the happiest hours of the year. We wish we always lived like this: The outdoor showers, the bare feet, the calm.
In a similar way, beach homes burrowed in the dunes reflect architecture’s best self. Those unfortunate trophy homes notwithstanding, beach houses tend to be modest places where we live simply and with a certain freedom, as if on a boat. And they defer to their surroundings, opening themselves up to water views and salt air. Alastair Gordon, author of “Weekend Utopia,” called the beach house “the sonnet form of American architecture.”
Here are eight sonnets for a summer season:
Peru has a history of starkly modern beach homes perched on the desert coastline. Javier Artadi gave this house, on a beach south of Lima, a weightlessness by suspending it above the ground, and he perforated the walls to frame the views.
Here’s the opposite of the Hamptons ideal of a gabled home in the dunes: a 160-square-foot surf shack made from a shipping container by HyBrid Seattle.
This isn’t exactly a beach house, but it’s close. Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, French brothers known for furniture design, created this floating house to be moored in the Seine on the outskirts of Paris. It’s covered in an aluminum skin and a trellis that will eventually be covered in vines.
Some beach houses are nothing more than a glorified deck. The Depot Beach House by Stuchbury and Pape, an Australian firm, is a basic platform and canted roof oriented toward the water.
The Caromandel House by the New Zealand architects Crosson Clarke Carnachan is a dead simple timber box that sits lightly on the land. The living room is in an outdoor space between two wings.
James Cutler gave this guest house on the windy northern tip of the Big Island of Hawaii a shed-like roof that reflects the direction of the prevailing winds.
The Los Angeles architect Lorcan O’Herlihy built this house for himself with 105 vertical slit windows three blocks from the beach in Venice Beach. Hemmed in on three side, he used the tiny windows to let in light while blocking views of his neighbors.