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From a distance, the Casa del Acantilado (Cliff House) in Salobrena, Spain looks like something you would expect to encounter in "Game of Thrones" or "The Hobbit." However, come closer and you will realize that this three bedroom home that closely resembles a scaled dragon is an architectural wonder — One that has been designed to fully embrace its beautiful natural surroundings.
The unusual house is the brainchild of Madrid-based Gilbartolome Architects. The designers had to come up with an innovative idea to take advantage of the breathtaking views of the plot that sits on the cliff at a 42° angle! While they certainly did that, they also made sure that the structure was environmentally friendly.
Casa del Acantilado's double-curved concrete shell roof are filled with insulation to help conserve energy. The zinc tiles that adorn the roof not only give the house its scaled dragon-like appearance, but also reflect the sun's rays, keeping the interior cool and comfortable even during the hot summer months.
To take advantage of the fact that the house is partially buried in the hill, the architects designed a natural air conditioner - A forty centimeter air cavity between the walls of the house and its interior. When the temperature inside exceeds 67.1°F (19.5° C), a ventilating system releases the cold air trapped inside the cavity into the house and helps cool it down naturally. Thanks to all these smart 'green' features, Casa del Acantilado does not have or need an electric cooling or heating system.
The interior of the two-story house is also well thought out. The design optimizes the incredible views with glass to ceiling windows, a pool on the rim, and a terrace in each of the three bedrooms. Its curvy shape not only takes advantage of every inch of land available, but also alleviates the need for columns or walls. As a result, the architects were able to create two levels on the bottom floor. The upper level can fit up to 70 people and is used for private programs while the lower leads onto a gorgeous cantilevered terrace and pool!
The best part is that the architects even used 'green' construction. This means that instead of relying on heavy polluting machinery and factory-made materials, they used human labor for everything — From hand making the zinc tiles to building the structure. The result is a home that is stunning, green, and extremely well-made!
Resources:designboom.com, gizmag.com, gilbartolome architects.