With Earth Day just around the corner (April 22, to be exact), now is the perfect time to showcase some of the world's most audacious green homes. From the plastic-bottle home of Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, to the stunning Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired prefabricated homes right here in California, green design has come a long way since polyurethane mud huts. After the jump, explore the radical directions that some of the world's leading architects are driving sustainable living.
Slideshow: Incredible Green Homes
Earth Day Inspired: Incredible Green Homes
In honor of Earth Day, AOL Real Estate is revisiting some of the most eye-popping green homes around the globe. Just because you want to save the planet doesn't mean you have to live in a mud shack. (But how 'bout a coke bottle cottage?) From dazzling modern prefab homes, to sprawling eco-mansions, we explore the whole gamut of green living. Click through to see some of the world's most intriguing green homes.
Known as La Casa de Botellas, this home in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina is comprised of thousands of recyclable plastic bottles. Sure, HVAC might be a pain if the home were built in, say, Minneapolis, but given the weather in Argentina, we think the owners are just fine.
Wake up feeling effervescent and refreshed in this soda pop bottle bedroom.
The designer of the home actually created a child-sized replica for his daughter to play with in the back yard.
Constructed in 1975 by architect William Morgan, the “Dune House” is so named because it was actually built into the Atlantic beach sand dunes. And while it may look more like a grassy submarine from this perspective, the interior is something to be seen.
Descend the curving staircase to find the heart of the home – the kitchen, living and dining rooms. Much of the furniture is built into the home, creating the feel of a cabin suite on a large cruise liner.
A shot of the living room from the top of the spiral staircase. Despite its grassy facade, each room offers sweeping views of the ocean.
Living on the cutting edge of sustainable design doesn't have to mean sterile, futuristic decor. As this sumptuous cabin estate in Canton, TX aptly demonstrates, green living is what you make of it.
The Kirkland Kastle, a 40-acre gated estate approximately 50 minutes from Dallas, was built almost entirely from natural resources within a 10-mile radius of the home. Nearly 90 percent of the 6,000 hardwood logs used in its construction would have otherwise been destined for burn piles to make space for land clearing.
The 40-acre property includes two bridges, a barn, an on-site lake and a personal gazebo. Add to that your very own bar and lounge area, and this home manages to break every stereotype associated with eco-friendly homeowners.
The home is listed with Coldwell Banker Apex and is selling at $4 million.
This unfinished home in Malibu, Calif. is constructed entirely from the hull of a retired 747 airplane. Francie Rehwald, a Mercedes dealership owner, purchased a 55-plot of land to build her spacey home concept. Whether or not you're a fan of the Jetsons-esque facade, there may be no finer example of upcycling on the entire West coast.
A simulated drawing of what the airplane home will look like once completed. If you're still not sold on the practicality of building your home on the wings of a jumbo jet, consider the price tag: the entire plane cost a paltry $35,000, with 4.5 million reusable parts to choose from.
The notion of a massive green home may seem counterintuitive, even hypocritical to many within the green design community -- but that didn't deter Frank McKinney, a self-fashioned "daredevil real estate artist," from taking a crack at it. Judge for yourself by touring the 15,000-square-foot estate.
The fact that the home includes solar panels, high-efficiency appliances, a reusable water filtration and a bevvy of other sustainable design gimmicks --er, features -- is suddenly washed away at the sight of this aquatic garage. Park your electric car besides this underwater dividing wall, perfect for peeking at poolside divers.
Known as the Acqua Liana -- the Fijian term for "water flower," according to McKinney's site -- is built upon 1.6 acres of pristine coastal shoreline. The interior, however, channels 1960s Bond flicks. The nautical theme runs throughout the expansive mansion.
Other amenities featured in the home include a golf course driveway, two glass elevators, three laundry rooms, "swimmable water gardens," and this deluxe movie screening room.
This Mill Valley, Calif. marvel is the personal home of architect Scott A. Lee, the president of SB Architects. As Marin County's first LEED Platinum home, the highest honor granted by the U.S. Green Building Council, this refined, contemporary home is leading the way in American green design.
The interior combines elements of Frank Lloyd Wright's modern sensibilities with an earthy, rustic charm. Here is the designer's take on a modern fireplace.
At left, a sun-filled shot of the home's kitchen. At right, a long, candle-lit dining room table -- the yin and yang of a delectable night-in.
Check out these AOL Real Estate Guides on how to live sustainably and save your hard earned greenbacks.