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Architecture: Building in and on cliffs

Spectacular building site on the Pacific coast.(October 2009) Some places simply take your breath away. One such location is the gated community by Asia approximately 120 km south of Peru’s capital Lima: here properties atop the Pacific cliffs are being developed for, shall we say, the well-to-do.

One of the new residences is the Casa Lefevre. Its architect, Luis Longhi, describes the area as „the place where desert and ocean meet“. Paying tribute to this fact, Longhi brought the cliffs into the house: one of the walls, e.g. in the bathroom, is raw rock. Other walls vary in natural structure from rough quarry stone outside to worked stone walls in the interior. Referring to the natural stone tradition, Longhi writes in an e-mail: „The Incas were the best architects in integrating landscape and architecture.“

The greenish dyed stone used to build the walls originates from the Andes near Puno as the local cliff rock is too saline and thus unsuited for building purposes.

The building’s living area extends over 580 m². The inclusion of a swimming pool seems to be the norm. Queried on the subject, Longhi mailed this response: „The water comes from the Andes through small rivers.“

Longhi Architects

We take the opportunity to refer to two similarly spectacular projects:

– In the case of the Casa Martínez Mondragón (Spanish)in Mexico Architects at AVM Arquitecture used the cliff rock for design. One of the bathroom walls is clad in polished stone;

– Rathscheck delivered the slate used for the facade of a cliff dwelling in Switzerland (German).