9 Stunning Examples of Homes Built on and Around Cliffs

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Although not for the faint of heart, a cliffside home can offer the excitement of living on the edge, as well as unparalleled panoramic views.

However, hillside or clifftop properties can also present building challenges that require creative problem solving and the help of professionals. Take a look at how these logistical issues have been transformed into inspirational solutions, resulting in some spectacular homes. 

A Finnish Villa Grows Out of a Seaside Cliff

Helsinki-based architecture studio Mer Arkkitehdit built this seaside villa among the trees in the 19th-century seaside town of Hanko, Finland. The residence is situated right in the center of Hanko's historic villa district and enjoys sweeping views of the dramatic coastline.

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A Maui Home Echoes the Surrounding Cliffs

Designed to nestle into the environment, this clifftop residence boasts a wall of windows that showcases spectacular ocean views. The Clifftop House was designed by Ljubljana-based firm Dekleva Gregorič Arhitekti for Slovenian expats Robert and Drazena Stroj. The dramatic home features a zig-zag roof made out of ipe wood, which serves as the perfect platform for whale watching or sharing drinks with friends. 

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Paros House

The Paros House is a minimal home located in Paros, Greece, and was designed by John Pawson. The residence rises like a citadel from the layered coastal horizon. 

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Views of the Columbia River Gorge

Located in White Salmon, Washington, the Cliff House is close to the river and Mt. Hood, while being elevated enough to offer long-range views up and down the gorge. The architects at Giulietti / Schouten AIA Architects re-used the basic footprint of a former single-level ranch house sheltered between tall firs without disturbing existing trees and rock formations. Giulietti / Schouten AIA Architects uploaded Cliff House through Add a Home

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Spanish Cliff House

GilBartolomé Architects designed the stunning—and appropriately named—Cliff House for a difficult site on the Andalusian coast: a hillside with a 42-degree slant. Aside from its dramatic appearance, the home features subterranean construction, which comes with an energy efficiency advantage. The surrounding soil is a constant 67 degrees, which helps keep the interiors at a comfortable temperature year-round. 

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Glass-and-Copper Pavilions Conquer the Cliffs

Hidden within a hill overlooking Australia’s Pittwater Bay, Rob Brown’s design for this cliffside home set high along the south end of the beach offers a mighty reward for conquering the steep ascent.

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A Remote Patagonian Retreat

Situated on a 70-degree slope and accessible only by boat, this vacation home for a Chilean family rises on stilts from a rocky cliff, and enjoys idyllic views of Lago Todos los Santos. Unsurprisingly, Casa Lago Todos los Santos proved a challenge to build for the architects at Apio Arquitectos. To manage the steeply-sloped lot with minimal impact on the natural environment, the builders decided to use a pillar system, bolting steel tubing to the foundation to support a firm platform for the house. 

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Cliffside Glass House Grows From the Rocks

Located in Falling Waters, West Virginia, on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Potomac River, this hillside home is nestled into its surroundings in a way that disrupts the landscape as little as possible. The sheer amount of glass encasing the house warrants a strong connection to the natural beauty of the grounds, and serves as a constant reminder of its surroundings. It was designed for an artist and sculptor  by Wiedemann Architects LLC.

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Remote Retreat Off the Coast of British Columbia

Perched over a cliff's face and designed by BattersbyHowat Architects, the hooded deck of the Gambier Residence reads like a ship’s prow over Howe Sound, the scenic waters near Vancouver.

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