When we think of cliffside homes, we generally cantilevered craftsmans in the Hollywood Hills or stunning seascapes viewed from sweeping balconies. This space from the architects at OPA, known as Casa Brutale, quite literally turns that vision on its head. Although set beside the sea and indeed perched upon a cliff, the house is actually carved out of the earth, with three walls surrounded entirely by the cliff itself. The resulting structure is a nod to Brutalist stylings in concrete and glass, while also realizing an architect’s vision with a completely unique home.
The house does not protrude from the ground, with the upper portion lying flush with the surrounding dirt. Instead, the home’s volume is set inside the earth with glass and water covering the exposed spaces.
A window stretching from floor to ceiling (or floor to ground, depending on your perspective) looks out onto the water. But above the main interior living area is another water view: directly into the private swimming pool. Swimmers can look down into the home while the ripples of the pool cast shadows and light into the interior.
Indeed, shadows, light, water, and natural elements are all part of the core of this space’s soul. Concrete, glass, and wood make up the majority of the structure while the surrounding earth and swimming pool provide natural insulation and cooling effects.
The house can be entered via elevator or by staircase, only after descending 50 steps towards the Aegean sea. Once inside, an interior concrete staircase carries guests up towards the private bedroom areas and down into the main living space.
Most important to the experience of this house is the landscape that surrounds it. Not only does it inspire the design, it quite literally embraces the structure, holding it in place and allowing inhabitants to meld with and live within nature.