Brutalism might be the ‘marmite’ of the architecture world but its raw, rugged nature has a cult following. Once the preferred style for mass housing projects, today it comes in all shapes and sizes – including tropical beachside villas and rural country houses.
We’ve sought out the best Brutalist holiday homes and contemporary concrete spin-offs that you can rent across the globe.
Villa Islander, the Turks and Caicos Islands
Concrete sits comfortably amongst the palm trees at this island retreat, which puts a tropical spin on the Brutalist style. Glass walls open straight onto waving fronds of greenery, which surround the villa’s swimming pool and dining terrace. Inside the property, architect and owner Alessandro Landi has set out to prove that concrete doesn’t have to be cold, using colour and texture to create a ‘handmade’ finish in the home’s interiors.
From $1,850 per night
The Edge, South Coogee, Australia
This hulking villa, designed by Renato D’Ettorre, perches on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, 12km from the Sydney Opera House. Its exterior might look forbidding, but it’s softened by the expansive sea vistas – which can be enjoyed from each of its five bedrooms. Inside the home, wooden floors and flashes of brick-red tiles temper the concrete ceiling and pillars, which frame the views across the waves.
From £2,707 per night
Tolo House, Cerva, Portugal
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The Brutalist forms of this holiday home emerge from a rocky slope in Portugal’s Cerva – located fifty minutes from Porto. Architect Alvaro Leite Siza designed the villa’s staggered levels to hug the rugged landscape, and give the sense of the building cascading down the terrain. Floating wooden steps connect the different levels, which are decked out with minimal furniture and lashings of white paint.
From €398 per night
Casa Wabi, Oaxaca, Mexico
Japanese architect Tadao Ando designed these Oaxacan beach houses in 2016, contrasting a 312-metre-long concrete wall with traditionally thatched roofs. Casa Wabi was initially intended as an artists’ retreat but has now opened its doors to everyone – with proceeds going back to support the work of the art foundation. The huts’ interiors are deliberately sparse, to encourage peace of mind. Still, guests are encouraged to socialise in the communal spaces – including the ocean-facing sunken lounge and a shared kitchen.
From $6,000 per night
Solo Peso von Enrichshausen, Cretas, Spain
Designers Maurizio Pezo and Sofia Von Ellrichshausen created this home to give guests the feeling of floating on air. It’s carefully perched between the woods and mountains of a nature reserve in Cretas, meaning the only neighbours are the local wildlife. Guests can enjoy the scenery from the shade of the home’s covered terrace, and cool off in the swimming pool – one corner of which is cut away to form a window.
Price on request
House Van Wassenhove in Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium
Belgian architect Juliaan Lampens completed this irregular-shaped Brutalist holiday home back in 1974. Today, it is looked after by the local Dhondt-Dhaenens museum, which allows design geeks a chance to stay in one of the architect’s seminal works via Airbnb.
Available for £221 a night
Mountain villa, Grímsnes-og Grafningshreppur, Iceland
Some of the best views of Iceland’s Golden Circle can be seen from behind the concrete walls of this Grimsnes-og Grafningshreppur home. The two-bedroom house is freshly completed 45 minutes from the capital of Reykjavik, on the doorstep of Thingvellir national park. Floor-to-ceiling windows let guests admire the view from beside the fireplace, but there’s also a patio and hot tub for nights when the northern lights are particularly good.
From £354 per night
Kadju House in Tangalle, Sri Lanka
This temple-like Brutalist holiday home is set within a cashew plantation by the Seenimodera bay in Tangalle. It mixes and matches concrete with natural materials like stone and wood. Completed in 2007, the beachside home was designed by architect Pradeep Kodikara and sleeps 8.
Available from £2,800 a week
TDA House in Oaxaca, Mexico
This contemporary take on Brutalism, designed by architects Cadaval & Solà-Morales, is found in Puerto Escondido on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The front entrance faces onto the beach while the cantilevered structure at the back leans over the pool. Completed 10 years ago, the home sleeps up to eight guests.
Available for £72 a night
Topanga House in Los Angeles, USA
This mid-century holiday home in the bohemian heartland of LA’s Topanga Canyon is packed with references to Brutalism. Concrete details dot the cosy two-person house, which comes complete with a concrete-lined swimming pool. It is owned by the founders of Boutique Homes, where you can find the listing.
Available for $400 a night
Casa Tiny in Oaxaca, Mexico
Tiny by name, this concrete cabin in Mexico is small by nature. It is the result of a collaboration between architect Araza Arino and director Claudio Sodi, who took inspiration from author Henry David Thoreau’s Walden about life off the grid. It sits close to Casa Wabi, a concrete creative retreat, designed by Tadao Ando.
Available for £48 a night