The world is rich with beautiful architecture. Created by genius minds, you can find buildings and interiors which are timeless or even “out of this world”. From South America to the United Kingdom, amazing architectural feats have been accomplished which seem only possible by modern 3D effects or deceiving movie sets.


In San Juan, Puerto Rico, architect José R. Marchand and interior designer Jorge Rosselló restored and updated historic La Concha hotel. Colorful bridges connect the shell-shaped restaurant, originally designed by Osvaldo Toro, to the hotel.


Toad Hall is the rustic home of Kreis and Sandy Beall that they built on a picturesque 32-acre site in the wooded foothills of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. Tadpole Cottage, one of five log cabins on the property, sits across a pond. Its function, defined by designer Suzanne Kasler, could be said to be the universal function of all that Toad Hall embraces: “charm and folly!”


On the rue du Bac at the heart of Paris, designers Valerian Rybar and Jean-François Daigre collaborated on Daigre’s own town house, set in a Louis XVI pavilion. The opulent salon featured curved mirror paneling, a Régence giltwood mirror and Louis XV chairs. “The mirrored salon,” remarked Daigre, “is my fantasy.”


Architect Helena Arahuete, of Lautner Associates, cantilevered a five-foot-deep swimming pool and slate-covered deck off the south side of a house in Green Valley, California. In the spirit of John Lautner’s architecture, the house is composed of expansive spaces and is respectful of its surroundings.


Designed by the architectural firm Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Virginia, houses private, commercial and military aircraft and spacecraft.


Beacon Cottage, left, was built at the base of the Start Point Lighthouse near Kingsbridge, Devon, in 1871. It was restored by Trinity House, which manages the lighthouses, and is part of a collection of former keepers’ cottages along the southern coastline.


Bill Bensley designed a couple’s weekend retreat on the Indonesian island of Java. Behind a waterfall that cascades from the glass-bottom swimming pool is a sandstone-clad “golden cave” with a custom-made brass bed.


Originally built for the transport of goods, the 80-foot Tusitiri is an African dhow, or lateen-rigged ship, which anchors at Lamu Island, Kenya, and can be chartered.


Elephant Watch Camp, a safari camp created by world-famous elephant conservationists Iain and Oria Douglas-Hamilton, is located north of Nairobi, Kenya. Dinner is served on the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River.


Le Meridien Lingotto Art + Tech, a modular concrete-and-glass hotel designed by architect Renzo Piano, is one of the additions to the former Fiat plant complex in Turin, Italy.


Architect Robert M. Gurney redesigned a 1950s house in Washington, D.C. Sleek contemporary chaises make a graphic statement by the infinity pool.


Architects Norman Foster and David Nelson, of Norman and Partners, designed a residential retreat in Kamakura, Japan. Fiber-optic lighting shines through fragments of glass in the composite walls, illuminating a hallway.


Belgian designer and antiques dealer Axel Vervoordt’s apartment is on the piano nobile of the 15th-century Palazzo Alverà in Venice, Italy.


Architect Mike de Haas and interior designer Twila Wilson designed Karl-Erivan and Katrin Haub’s home on St. John in the Caribbean. From the pool, which features a compass rose, an infinity edge, limestone coping and a coral-stone deck, is a spectacular view of the island of Tortola.


On a scenic reservoir of the Colorado River in Austin, Texas, Ted Flato—of the architectural firm Lake/Flato—designed a contemporary 6,000-square-foot residence.


Shambha Niwas, built in the 1860s in Udaipur, India, is the private residence of India’s oldest ruling family. Beyond the swimming pool of the private terrace are Lake Pichola and the lights of the Lake Palace, the island hotel that was once the royal summer retreat.


The Sowden House in Los Angeles, California, was originally built by Lloyd Wright in 1928 and restored in 2000 by owner/designer Xorin Balbes and architect Paul Ashley. “The new pool in the courtyard locates a water element in the heart of the home; water spills over the edge of the spa, filling the rooms with its sound,” says Balbes.

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