Cliff House, a barnacle-hanging-from-a-boat's hull inspired vacation home that dangles precariously over a vast and raging ocean, went viral earlier this week. You may have seen it. You may have had nightmares about it.
The creation of Aussie prefab design/build firm Modscape, the conceptual dwelling is pure spectacle geared to elicit a variety of bug-eyed reactions. The five-story home was conceived, in the words of Modscape, as a "theoretical response to clients" who had expressed interest in exploring "design options for extreme parcels of coastal land in Australia." Anchored to the face of the cliff by “engineered steel pins,” the design presents itself as a “natural extension of the cliff face rather than an addition to the landscape, creating an absolute connection with the ocean.”
It's intriguing and all, but my one complaint is with the home’s name. Cliff House. It’s sweet, simple and gets the job done but perhaps a bit more time could have been spent on this. I’m not saying it should have been called Diazepam Manor or the Sandstone Express or anything like that — it just seems that such an attention-grabbing concept deserves an equally as attention-grabbing name. When I think "Cliff House," I think of an overpriced fine dining restaurant (good for prom dates, Easter brunch and not much else) in Anytown, U.S.A.
As for the layout of Cliff House, it’s pretty straightforward: The only way in and out of the structure is through the carport; from there, you descend via stairs or elevator to the lower levels which include three bedrooms, an open living/dining/lounging room and, at “the bottom,” an open-air hot tub and BBQ area that's for the strong-stomached only.
Décor wise, the place is done up in an unfussy minimalist fashion “to ensure that the transcendent views of the ocean and the unique spatial experience of the location remain the integral focal point of the design.” You know, in case you happen to forget your hanging from the side of a cliff.
As pointed out by Lloyd Alter at sister site TreeHugger, quixotic conceptual designs like Cliff House aren’t Modscapes’ bread and butter although this has certainly gained the firm a whole bunch of publicity.
Based in the Melbourne suburbs, Modscape is responsible for some beautiful real and viable (and less vertiginous) modern prefab work. Lloyd takes a closer look at an off-grid cabin that blends wonderfully into the rugged landscape of Tintaldra, Victoria — for both residential and commercial clients, always with an with a keen eye toward environmental sustainability. They're a serious firm firm that has done some truly nice work. This decidedly less conspicuous four-bedroom spread is particularly lovely.
Any thoughts on Cliff House? A yes, please? Or, a no thank you very much?
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