Actually, for better architectural terms, it’s more of living inside the side of a cliff. Confused? When a Dutch Firm, OPA, first published its concept for “Casa Brutale” on ArchDaily in July last year, it gained a position as one of the top 10 most read articles on search engines in 2015. But most experts simply dismissed the architectural wonder as just that, a wonder. But in less than 3 weeks the project was picked up by non-architectural news outlets and in less than a month this “beautiful, terrifying house is literally inside a cliff” began receiving client calls and investment proposals. OPA has announced that soon, the project will break ground on construction in Lebanon. According to its creator, founding partner, and architect of OPA, Laertis-Antonios Ando Vassiliou, Casa Brutale was conceptualized as a tribute to Brutalism, carved from the side and edge of a cliff, “an unclad statement on the simplicity and harmony of contemporary architecture.”
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The overall design of the structure was supposed to “break the internet” with its seemingly impossible structure and physics-defying water feature, but within 2 weeks of its publication, its designers and investors were already discussing construction and ground breaking procedures since, as most experts failed to see, with today’s advanced technology in the construction industry, “it can be done.” Together with another Dutch geo-physical and engineering firm, ARUP, based in Amsterdam, the project is slated to be launched by the last quarter of this year (of course, subject to the issuing of the building permit in Lebanon which can be a bit slow) and will be completed by 2018. Casa Brutale will be constructed on a cliff side on Faqra Mountain outside Beirut in Lebanon. It will be at an altitude of 1,969 feet and will cover around 2,906 square feet and can comfortably accommodate up to six people. With an estimated budget of around $2.5 million, the house will have an underground parking for up to 3 cars.
Realistically, though it may look impressive and terrifying on paper, how safe is the house? The first scare is if the house is safe should rocks crumble on the cliff side. As this is an understandable fear, but the house is properly excavated to be nesting inside the cliff and not upon it or at its side. The house is firmly anchored as part of the earth. Another fear is in case a car (with a drunk driver) could accidentally crash the vehicle into the pool, and thus, into the house. Ando Vassiliou assures that there will be sufficient lighting and landscaping around the house to safely lead any driver to the parking garage. Naturally, there are other engineering concerns such as privacy (since the pool also serves as the roof of the house), proper illumination inside the house since only two sides are exposed to natural light, maintaining an elevator, staircases, and the sloped ramp for the garage that all require weatherproofing against winter and heavy snow falls. Of course all concerns related to engineering will be tackled by ARUP. So if you thought such homes were only found in James Bond movies or Sci-Fi films, perhaps the future for bolder architectural concepts is starting to break ground today.