Architecture

Spanish cave house resembles a scaled dragon looking out to sea

Spanish cave house resembles a...
The home was constructed in 2015
The home was constructed in 2015
View 18 Images
The roof comprises a double curved concrete shell packed with insulation and clad in handmade (and hand-placed) zinc roof tiles
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The roof comprises a double curved concrete shell packed with insulation and clad in handmade (and hand-placed) zinc roof tiles
House on the Cliff was commissioned by a couple with a challenging hill plot with a 42-degree slope
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House on the Cliff was commissioned by a couple with a challenging hill plot with a 42-degree slope
The home was constructed in 2015
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The home was constructed in 2015
The home's defining roof lends the appearance of a scaled dragon looking out to sea
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The home's defining roof lends the appearance of a scaled dragon looking out to sea
Madrid-based GilBartolomé Architects largely shunned heavy machinery and employed a number of laborers to construct the two story home
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Madrid-based GilBartolomé Architects largely shunned heavy machinery and employed a number of laborers to construct the two story home
The firm says being buried into the hillside ensures a steady interior temperature of 19.5º C (67.1º F)
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The firm says being buried into the hillside ensures a steady interior temperature of 19.5º C (67.1º F)
The unique furniture was made on-site using fiberglass and polyester resin
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The unique furniture was made on-site using fiberglass and polyester resin
The interior includes a large terraced living area that is connected to a cantilevered terrace with swimming pool
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The interior includes a large terraced living area that is connected to a cantilevered terrace with swimming pool
The unique furniture was made on-site using fiberglass and polyester resin
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The unique furniture was made on-site using fiberglass and polyester resin
The home is described as a Gaudiesque contemporary cave (Gaudi being the father of Spanish modernism)
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The home is described as a Gaudiesque contemporary cave (Gaudi being the father of Spanish modernism)
House on the Cliff boasts breathtaking views of the Mediterranean
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House on the Cliff boasts breathtaking views of the Mediterranean
Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
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Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
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Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
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Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
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Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
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Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
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Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
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Architectural plan of House on the Cliff
View gallery - 18 images

Drive through rural Spain, especially the south, and you'll find lots of cave houses built into hillsides. With searing heat throughout much of the year, keeping cool is the main worry and cave houses have excellent thermal properties. Granada's House on the Cliff is a cave house like no other, and is defined by its undulating dragon scale-like zinc roof, generous glazing and energy-saving design.

House on the Cliff was commissioned by a young couple with a challenging hill plot that boasts breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. The home's striking roof comprises a double-curved concrete shell packed with insulation and clad in handmade (and hand-placed) zinc roof tiles that bring to mind a scaled dragon looking out to sea from the right angle – fitting, since dragon-starring fantasy TV show Game of Thrones is filmed nearby.

The interior is striking too. Large living and dining areas connect to a cantilevered terrace with swimming pool, while private areas including two bedrooms are located upstairs. The interior requires no internal support columns or walls, and because of the available open space, can be used as a stage and auditorium for up to 70 people. In addition, the unique furniture was made on-site using fiberglass and polyester resin.

The home's defining roof lends the appearance of a scaled dragon looking out to sea
The home's defining roof lends the appearance of a scaled dragon looking out to sea

During construction of the House on the Cliff, Madrid-based GilBartolomé Architects shunned heavy machinery and employed a labor-intensive method of constructing the two story home with large numbers of builders and laborers.

The firm says that being part-buried into the hillside enables the home to maintain a natural interior temperature of 19.5º C (67.1º F). To make full use of this, the architects installed a 40 cm (15.7-in) air cavity between the retaining walls and interior, which houses cool air. A HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) unit monitors the temperature of the interior and determines how much of this air should be channeled inside, in addition to controlling ventilation.

Because of these steps, the home requires no further heating or cooling, year round.

Source: GilBartolomé Architects

View gallery - 18 images
4 comments
Bob Flint
The fiberglass will outgas for a long time, and the zinc water run-off looks like it's headed straight for the pool below..
Wolf0579
I would have preferred to keep the outside as natural as possible... to the point of concealing the entrance.
JuanCarlosFuertes
"...resembles a scaled dragon looking out to sea " ??? Ever saw a dragon, even in images of legend? Have you fever or are high or drunk? it's a pretty stupid comment ...
YuraG
I don't want to spoil anyone's fun, but Bob Flint is right: aisi 304 0.5 mm for the roof and anything bar fibreglass (especially polyester resin) for the furniture