The Hillside Home Built into a Cliff

April Kennedy April Kennedy
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This hillside home is surrounded by wild woods and has sweeping views of the German river Rhine. When approaching a design with this kind of vantage point, it would be natural to focus almost exclusively on the views. But the owner wanted a home with lots of privacy. He requested small rooms with large windows and a close communion with the natural woodland surroundings.

The architects, Gian Salis created all this and more. They built a modern home that both nestles into the shade of the thick woods and possesses magical views of the river. The basic structure is made from raw concrete and the non-bearing walls, doors and cabinets are made of pine plywood. Although the inside walls are lined with smooth clay plaster, all the other finishes have been left as raw as possible to show off their natural patina.

Come with us on a photo tour for more details of this beautiful German home.

Wild woodland surrounds

From a distance, the steepness of the hilly incline isn't so obvious and this two-level modern home looks almost like many other modern homes on a flat block. The flat, concrete roof and large windows have been arranged in a geometric design and a certain delicacy and lightness has been achieved. From this angle we can see the potential for privacy in the dense woodland and large forest canopy that surround the building.

Split level side entrance

This side offers a better view of this steep hillside home. The garden area has a natural, slightly wild landscape with a few pot plants and a small grassy path leading to the entrance.

The two-storey home lies on two levels. Tall concrete pylons prop up a large, raw, concrete overhand and the most of the walls are made from glass. One of the loveliest aspects of this design is that the floor-to-ceiling glass windows offer a transparent view of the woodlands that is visible from one of the residence to the other.

Raw natural finishes

As mentioned earlier, the materials were left as raw as possible. Here we can see how some stained pine plywood doors open up to the hallway and concrete staircase. The stairs are floating and the bannister is little but a fine series of thin, raw steel rods attached to the ceiling. The combination of steel, minimalistic design and raw concrete offers a slightly industrial feel.

Floor to ceiling glass walls

Here we have the main living area with the sunny aspect of the home and stunning views of the area. The area has minimal furnishings and nothing to obstruct from the surrounding views. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls finished in wood allow lots of strong sunlight to flood the room. The concrete floor stores this solar heat during the harsh German winters, while the surrounding canopy protects the home from getting too hot in summer.

A natural eating area

From the other side of the open plan living room, we can see the casual dining area. Despite the luxury of the surroundings, there's an unpretentious, casual feel to the home. With four different types of seating, wood finishes and lots of white, the eating zone has a slightly Scandinavian feel.

From here we also have a peek of the large outdoor balcony area on the left. As with the staircase, the walls of the balcony are simply made from fine, steep rods that do little to obstruct the view.

Sliding doors and smaller spaces

This living room space is interesting, because here we see how the large, wooden sliding door separates the back half of the living area from the front. The occupants have the option of keeping the door open to enjoy the view, and closing it when they need some privacy. As with the other rooms, there is minimal furnishing, with just a simple rug and pillow on the concrete ground.

Shaded area of privacy

For our final picture, we have an exterior view of the last room we saw from the inside. The architect said that he conceived of these rooms as introverted areas and we can see why. Without adding a single window dressing, the design has taken full advantage of the natural privacy offered by the hillside forest.

In all, this is a beautiful modern home suited to its unique woodland setting.

If you are interested in homes built on sloping blocks, you would love this Ideabook A Brazilian House of Style.

What do you think of this glassy home on a slope? We'd love to hear in the comments below!
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