When we visit someone else’s house what we see is the finished product. Our eyes can only detect what is visible, often merely a decorative covering, on top of layers of materials.

DetailInRes2_HighResCoverThat is hidden, as the authors of Detail in Contemporary Residential Architecture 2 observe, are the ideas fixed in the form of a drawing, the best of which are elegant and simple; it is a shame that so often they are invisible once the building has been completed.

It is thus what lies underneath all the paint, wood and plaster that tells us not just how the building was built, but also why it was built in that way. The drawings provide an insight into the construction culture of the place where the building is situated – what is really vital in one location may be completely immaterial in another.

The following selection of properties are not all dream houses with vast budgets, rather they are realistic solutions to the housing needs of the individuals and their families for whom they were built, their design is also a reflection of their location. Each has been chosen because of a quality or an aspect of the design that is particular. Spread across the world, they are built from many different materials and for a range of budgets. They do, however, have two things in common; outstanding and original design in the materials and the way in which these are combined to create a unique home.

The homes featured are one example from each of the four categories of building materials; the book is divided into: wood, brick, concrete and other materials. Unusually, but in keeping with the aim of the authors David Phillips and Megumi Yamashita, the book contains a CD ROM of all the drawings for every one of the 50 homes described, some of which are reproduced in the text covering each property. The combination provides an unusual and fascinating insight into different methods of construction around the world.