Butterfly House

Inspired by the life cycle of the butterfly, this architectural marvel is an artwork, a laboratory, a home, a design studio and an attraction.

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The Butterfly House is an extraordinary refurbished family home in Surrey, England, inspired by the life cycle of the butterfly. An experiment in zoo-morphic design, the house represents each change from larval stage, represented by the walkway, to the chrysalis, which is seen in the staircase and conservatory, to the winged canopies outside that represent the emerged butterfly. This architectural flight of fancy is constructed of timber, Kevlar sails and steel, copper and plastic ducts. Other materials include more than a mile of bungee rope, over 320 feet of fiber optic cables and 50 interwoven carbon fiber fishing rods.

With its bright winged canopies, serpentine pathways and garden that twists through its science-fiction interiors, it must be one of the most surreal homes ever built. It's also home to the Chetwoods, a young family of four. The Butterfly House is Laurie Chetwood's plaything. A building that is part mechanical, part organic, that has been growing, as if by itself, from a high bank for the past four years. It is at once an artwork, a laboratory for architectural experimentation, a family home, a design studio and an attraction. Actual butterflies are attracted by plants including lavender, hebe and buddleia.

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