gilbartolomé buries metallic scaled residence into a cliff overlooking mediterrean

gilbartolomé architects
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commissioned by a young couple and faced with a challenging site, gilbartolomé architects have conceived the distinctive ‘casa del acantilado’ embedded deep into the cliff overlooking the mediterranean in granada, spain.

the complex scheme is the result of ambitious ideas derived from both the client and the architect. the brief called for a structure that would integrate with the unique landscape and contain interiors orientated towards the sea.

portrayed as a ‘gaudiesque contemporary cave’, the unusual structure features a intricately formed roof form made from handmade zinc tiles that gives off a metallic shimmer. using a efficient de-formable metal mesh, the roof was produced through a handcrafted formwork system developed by a local engineer.

‘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.’ – pablo gil and jaime bartolomé, gilbartolomé architects

the interiors – boasting a constant view of the water – is spread across two levels. private programs are on the second floor, while the large terraced living room below follows the inclining slope of the cliff and seamlessly leads onto a cantilevering terrace with a pool. the advantage of its buried context is the home benefits from keeping a constant temperature of 19.5 degrees celsius.

the project was realized during the financial crisis in spain and despite the social context, the architects avoided the rushed, factory-made construction and chose to develop the home using manual labor that would produce a higher-quality construction.

continuing its distinct characteristics seen on the exterior, the main space inside has been organized into ‘islands of activity’ and can adapt into an auditorium to host 70 people. despite the limited budget, the construction relied on local craftsmanship and labor: ‘these techniques that jump between the manual and the digital have produced a unique blend of qualities.’

gilbartolomé buries metallic scaled residence into a cliff overlooking mediterrean

the handmade tiles give off a metallic shimmer and resembles scales


the house is buried into the steep slope and benefits from the annually constant temperature of 19.5 degrees celsius


the home is spread across two levels with the main space featuring an auditorium space for 70 people


the movable glass facade completely opens to the landscape and onto the terrace and pool area


conceived as a contemporary cave, the home is sited in granada in spain

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