Architects Pablo Gil and Jaime Bartolomé believe that “architecture can provide an experience similar to that of music,” but looking at their Casa del Acantilado might lead you to feel an experience more similar to watching a Guillermo del Toro movie.
The team honed their skills at the offices of Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers, who create some of the most visually distinctive designs in modern architecture. Hovering over the Mediterranean, the “House on a Cliff” in Granada, commissioned by a young couple who accepted proposals from four different firms, is an exercise in the way architecture can influence us emotionally.
“We have a much higher emotional response to animals than to other humans or objects, so we have tried to make a facade that evokes the idea of an animal and therefore provokes our fascination,” the architects describe.
But an animal? An experience similar to music? For us, not so much. This is how your correspondent’s internet-soaked brain interpreted the design:
Client: I want a house shaped like a giant ghost face about to eat everything in its path
Architect: Say no more, fam
That’s not to say there isn’t room for this exploratory, dark aesthetic in architecture, just as there is room for its counterpart: the ubiquitous ultra-minimal empty-room style wielded by nearly every Scandinavian designer for the past half a century.
That said, there is an undeniable high degree of technical skill on display here: the scaly, swerving roof is the home’s centerpiece, handcrafted from a malleable metal mesh topped with (also handcrafted) individual zinc scales. Interestingly, it was actually cheaper than its common counterparts such as timber or steel.
The house is embedded in a steep hill, which presented significant design challenges but ultimately resulted in this peculiar, one-of-a-kind proposal, which the young family fell in love with straight away. Three bedrooms, each with their own balcony, overlook the Mediterranean, and the waves of the roof reference, at least abstractly, those of the sea.