Southern Spain boasts of many cave houses, which are beautiful to look at and also serve the purpose of keeping the inhabitants cool in the searing summer heat. But the recently built House on the Cliff is certainly a step apart from the rest. With an exterior built to resemble a dragon’s head, and an energy saving design it is definitely worth noting. As if one could miss it.
The home was designed by GilBartolomé Architect of Madrid, and features an undulating zinc roof, which covers most of its façade. The roof is covered by scale-like protrusions and shaped to resemble a dragon’s head. The architects also made the home as energy efficient as possible, basing the design on the already excellent thermal properties of cave houses in general and going from there to create a home that needs no heating or cooling.
According to the architects, being partially buried in the hillside makes it possible for the interior temperature to remain a steady 67.1º F (19.5º C) naturally. To achieve this they created a 15.7-in (40 cm) air cavity between the retaining walls and interior that is able to store cool air. They also installed an efficient HVAC unit that monitors the interior temperature and controls the amount of air that is channeled inside.
The distinctive roof of the home is made up of a double curved concrete shell, which is packed with insulation. The zinc cladding was handmade, as well as hand-placed. The interior of the home is also stunning. The home features a large open plan living and dining area, which opens onto a cantilevered terrace. The two bedrooms are located on the second story of the home. Being partially set in a cave, the home also does not require any type of internal support columns or walls, and the architects decided to leave the space open as much as possible, resulting in a living are that can hold up to 70 people. All the furniture is also quite unique and was produced on-site out of fiberglass and polyester resin.
They also did not use heavy machinery during the construction process, but rather employed a large number of builders and laborers to construct the home. This not only offset the carbon footprint of the home, but also provided jobs to many of the local laborers.