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This Five-Story House Is Attached To The Side Of A Cliff

What won’t we do for an ocean view?

Here’s one way to get a good view: Attach your house to the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean. In a new conceptual design for a client, Australian designers have created a home that dangles from the edge of a rock.

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“The conceptual design was inspired by the way barnacles cling to the hull of a ship–hence the concept was developed for a modular home to hang off the side of a cliff as opposed to sitting on top of it,” says Jan Gyrn, director of Modscape, the firm that developed the design. “The home is visualized as a natural extension of the cliff face rather than an addition to the landscape, creating an absolute connection with the ocean.”

The home would be possible to build, the architects say, because it uses prefabricated parts. “The design itself would make conventional construction prohibitive due to cost and access issues,” says Gyrn. “Modscape’s modular design and prefabrication technologies are what makes the conceptual design possible…engineered steel pins are installed into the cliff face and then a series of stacked modules, constructed in our factory, are anchored into the cliff face.”

The prefab design would also help minimize environmental impact. “Site preparation is minimal–meaning less disruption to flora, fauna and neighboring areas and no need for earth moving or compacting,” Gyrn explains. “Having the construction take place in a factory rather than on-site also minimizes noise, rubbish, dust, and debris.” Of course, drilling holes in the side of a cliff might cause other issues–and if the house is built, it will have to go through a full environmental impact review.

Like the architects’ other prefab homes, the cliff house would be made from recycled and sustainably-sourced materials, and designed to save energy (though the elevator inside, used to travel up and down the cliff, would definitely use a little more energy than a typical house).

If the client decides to pursue the design, in addition to an environmental review, it will also have to get permits for safety. If a house can fall off the top of a cliff, it seems possible that one attached to the side might face a few risks, too.

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About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.

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