If you enjoy Antoni Gaudí, you’ll love this amazing home buried into a hillside in Salobreña, Spain. GilBartolomé Architects completed Casa del Ancantilado (House on the Cliff), a scaly and sculptural home that’s unlike any we’ve seen before, using a variety of labor-intensive techniques. The cavernous home is topped with an undulating metallic roof evocative of scaly dragon skin and uses the earth to keep a comfortable indoor temperature year-round.
Perched high on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the House on the Cliff was designed for a young couple that had purchased a difficult and steeply sloped plot with a 42-degree incline. Instead of building on the slope, the architects responded by digging into the steep terrain and inserting a two-story cavernous dwelling that they describe as a “Gaudiesque contemporary cave.” The submerged home is topped with a wavy and bespoke zinc-clad roof that opens up on both floors to frame views through dormer windows and glass balconies.
“The task has been to integrate the house within the magnificent landscape that surrounds it and to direct the livable spaces towards the sea,” said architects Gil and Bartolomé to Dezeen. “The form of the house and the metallic roof produces a calculated aesthetic ambiguity between the natural and the artificial, between the skin of a dragon set in the ground when seen from below, and the waves of the sea when seen from above.”
The home’s sculptural structure was achieved with a metal mesh formwork created by local engineer Manuel Rojas. The mesh reinforces the home’s curved concrete double shell. Zinc tiles and gypsum plaster top the roof and were purposefully handmade and made with labor-intensive techniques by local workers as part of a plan to boost the local economy during the country’s financial crisis in 2015.
The all-white, column-free interior is covered by the double shell of reinforced concrete and is supported by retaining walls. The architects also designed bespoke fiberglass and polyester-resin furniture that was handmade onsite. Since the home is buried into the slope, the dwelling enjoys earth-regulated temperatures of around 72 degrees (20 Celsius) year-round. The lower level opens up to a cantilevered terrace and pool. Unsurprisingly, the house is considered a hotspot for parties and can accommodate up to 70 guests.