Visual lightness and transparency are dear to the heart of many an architect. But it’s not easy to achieve a building that perches delicately on the land, especially when pesky seismic, flooding, and other regulations come into play. Using a house to form a bridge over a waterway or landform can help attain this coveted sense of weightlessness.

Bridge houses may look poetic in the landscape, but they also boast practical benefits. Their sensitive siting eliminates the need for invasive (and expensive) earth-moving tactics. Rainwater flows right underneath them. They provide a way of handling the idiosyncrasies of local topography. And on a more philosophical level, they implicitly acknowledge the primacy of nature by deferring to the existing site.

To ensure structural stability, the design and building of a bridge house can involve intensive engineering. But in the best ones, the effort never shows. All you notice is the lightweight look and the feeling of living within the landscape, rather than on it. Step into our collection of bridge houses to find that oh-so-bearable lightness of being.