Dragon-Inspired Cliff House in Spain Uses the Earth to Stay Cool


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Categories: Homes / Dwellings

A wavy zinc-covered roof covers the front of this residence by Madrid practice GilBartolomé Architects, which is dug into a steep cliff face overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Spain's Granada province

The property called House on the Cliff was designed by architects Pablo Gil and Jaime Bartolomé for a young couple who bought a difficult hillside plot, which has a steep inclination of 42 degrees.

The two-storey house is largely buried in the ground and covered by an undulating zinc-clad roof that follows the sloping terrain.

The roof form creates a cavernous interior inspired by the work of Spanish architect Gaudí, and described by the architects as a "Gaudiesque contemporary cave".

"The task has been to integrate the house within the magnificent landscape that surrounds it and to direct the livable spaces towards the sea," explained Gil and Bartolomé.

"The form of the house and the metallic roof produces a calculated aesthetic ambiguity between the natural and the artificial," they added, "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 subterranean arrangement was devised so the house could benefit from the site's constant ground temperature, which stays at around 19.5 degrees Celsius all year.

A large split-level living area opens onto a cantilevered terrace with a swimming pool on the lower level, while three bedrooms on the second floor take in sea views though dormer windows and glass balconies.

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