The undulating curves of this classy contemporary roof may remind you of a number of things: the famous shape of the Sydney Opera House, the trajectory of a gently bouncing ball, rolling hills, dynamic waves … or perhaps more directly: the curved points of trees and shallow sand dunes that surround this scenic beach-front property.

The site itself is beautiful, and the unique architectural design solution elegant and simple: create a home shaped to both blend with the scenery but also connect its residents to the beach below and sky above.

Set it ?down on an urban lot and this complex structure would stick out like a sore thumb. Somehow, despite being abstract, modern and visually engaging, it seems far more subtle (and sublime) when set in this particular landscape with a minimum of overt decor outside its core curvilinear forms and the shadows they cast.

Thomas Phifer + Partners planned it that way. This was not about aesthetic expression or standing apart from context – it was intended as a pavilion-like retreat, something that felt both homey and transient at the same time. The plan is surprisingly simple, but consistent with the overall approach.

Particularly fascinating is that these architects have gone to other extremes in the past, building ultramodern box-like houses in the midst of wild-growing natural forests. Does that make this work a contradiction? Perhaps not – instead, think of it this way: who would you rather have design your home … someone who creates the same type of thing for any person or circumstance … or who fits their creation to your needs as their client?