Beautiful and Sustainable: Modern Duplex Homes Deliver | Digitized House
Beautiful and Sustainable: Modern Duplex Homes Deliver

Beautiful and Sustainable: Modern Duplex Homes Deliver

If you are looking for a great housing deal, maybe you should consider building a home with a duplex floor plan. Besides helping you pay your mortgage, should you rent out one side, these homes offer many perks and benefits. On the other hand, if you prefer short-time rentals, you can furnish the other unit as a luxury vacation rental—a prime option for an Airbnb listing.

Even if being a landlord isn’t your thing, having a duplex home’s the right choice if you have an extended family, or want to keep your elderly parents close. However, there’s much more to modern duplexes than that. Let’s see what else makes this flavor of modern architecture one of the most popular housing options today. 

Today's modern duplex homes offer a broad range of options for homeowners seeking a good housing deal.
Today’s modern duplex homes offer a broad range of options for homeowners seeking a good housing deal.

Inventive Floor Plans

It’s often said that ingenuity is born out of simplicity, and that’s definitely true for a beautiful modern duplex home in the picturesque Spanish region of Arnedo. Designed by N232 Arquitectura, this contemporary home has clean interiors, which only through closer inspection reveals the brilliant design that makes it so special.

While you’d expect a house to have public areas in the lower level, and the private quarters on the top floor, in this duplex penthouse, the situation is reversed. The main entrance extends into a staircase that leads to the social area on the top level, with a small dining area, and a modern open floor plan kitchen. The minimalistic décor is accented with large black walls on one side, offering a visual contrast to the resourceful mix of colours in the rest of the unit. The lower level includes private bedrooms and bathrooms that provide enough seclusion even if the upper floor becomes a micro-apartment of its own. 

Organic Lines

The use of curves on home facades has become a staple of many of Australia’s best residential architects, such as Jesse Bennett. Located in Cairns, Queensland, Planchonella House was designed as a series of joyful spaces that celebrate natural inspiration.

Plachonella House by architect Jesse Bennett. Image: Sean Fennessey.
Plachonella House by architect Jesse Bennett. Image: Sean Fennessey.

Sprouting in the midst of the tropical outcrop, this duplex home embraces its surroundings and uses passive designs methods. Its contours follow the site ridgeline through concrete slabs, while the wings created on each side float into the surrounding rainforest to become a part of tree canopies. The omission of boundaries between the inside and outside gives the inhabitants an unparalleled experience of the outdoors, made possible with a large flat roof with generous overhang, minimal walls and columns in between. 

Sustainable Materials

It seems that the formerly popular industrial aesthetics is getting replaced with natural materials and textures in homebuilding, as well. The trend is especially visible in Australian designs, as in Cera Stribley Architects, they say that instead of metal and glass cladding, clients are more interested in exposed handcrafted bricks, rammed earth, and timbers to get increased warmth and texture. 

Apart from their obvious sustainable benefits, natural materials bring about a level of timelessness. The way they weather, age, and change over time means that after many years, the building looks different from the day it was built. 

Crisp, modern designs are available for the modern duplex. Image: Meadan Homes.
Crisp, modern designs are available for the modern duplex. Image: Meadan Homes.

Another plane of sustainable builds is working together with the client throughout the process, so with the prime duplex builders in Sydney you are the one who can make all the selections for your duplex, including materials, bathroom and kitchen accessories, and electrical layout. 

Balanced Solutions

When drawing up the floor plan for this modern duplex home in Kfar Shmaryahu, a small neighbourhood north of Tel Aviv, architects from Axelrod and Pitsou Kedem wanted to design two different single-family houses, which still maintain a coherent architectural element. The owners, families of close friends both running construction technology solutions businesses, are well accustomed to modern architecture. They opted for the marriage of modernistic principles of the early 20th century and the latest technological solutions used in homebuilding today. 

The first house consists of two concrete masses with one floating on top of the other, creating a featherweight feeling despite heavy materials. These two masses meet at a vertical axis featuring a staircase that goes through all the levels of the house. While the upper unit is a box that opens up to the view, the lower unit is based on an open space that is connected to the garden without any formal entry points. 

Modern Yet Affordable

In times when the lack of affordable housing threatens to become a national crisis, architecture and design students are struggling to commit their skills to the test with feasible projects for those who need it the most. 

The rear view of the Waldo Duplex in Kansas, a structure that wears maintenance-free Galvalume metal siding and roof panels. Image: Mike Sinclair.
The rear view of the Waldo Duplex in Kansas, a structure that wears maintenance-free Galvalume metal siding and roof panels. Image: Mike Sinclair.

Among ingenious designs such as SCI-Arc’s low-cost modern home and Yale’s prefab home for the homeless, another solution that has drawn much attention is a collaboration between architecture students at Kansas State University and architectural firm El Dorado of Kansas City. Called Waldo Duplex, this two-apartment building located in a historic neighbourhood, is made for local families who make less than 80 percent of the city’s average income. Each of the apartments sports 725 square feet of space, open-plan living, dining, and kitchen layout. The structure was designed to fall in line with the existing neighbourhood, with exterior walls and roof clad in corrugated metal. 

Broad Appeal

As demography and economy create new demands for multi-family housing, the designers and architects are facing challenges to create homes that will appeal to a diverse market of owners. As seen in these examples, functionality and sustainability of duplex homes is never far from careful consideration of scale and materials that let them blend in either with theirsurroundings or other homes. 

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Lucas Bergman
Contributing Author
Lucas Bergman is a real estate agent and renewable energy consultant with many hobbies and passions, but above all, he enjoys the most spending time with his wife – Mara. He also likes The Lord of the Rings. Actually, he very much likes The Lord of the Rings. He is a regular contributor at

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