The building appears to be nestled into the side of a cliff, its glass walls leaving nothing to the imagination as the view cascades for more than five-thousand feet. Only those with the strongest heads for heights would be brave enough to enter here.
This incredible feat of engineering was envisioned and designed by a company called Open Platform for Architecture (OPA). Described as an industrial, architectural and graphic design platform, the company is the brainchild of Laertis-Antonios Ando Vassiliou of the Netherlands and Pantelis Kampouropoulos of Greece.
Founded in December 2014 OPA is based in Haarlem, Netherlands. The company’s aim is to foster an ever-growing network of experts in their fields, using their skills to develop and deliver cutting-edge designs.
And nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in this incredible cliff top structure. Designed relatively quickly, between March and July 2015, the vertigo-inducing concept is thrilling to consider.
But just what is this mind-boggling building that looks as if it would come straight from the set of the latest James Bond movie? It’s actually a home, and it’s really being built.
The stunning two-bedroom property, known as Casa Brutale, was designed as a tribute to the Brutalist movement. A style of architecture popular from the 1950s to the 1970s, it was noted for its liberal use of concrete and raw materials.
OPA’s design was also inspired by Villa Malaparte, a famous cliff-top dwelling in Capri, Italy. But where the Italian villa seems to grow organically out of the rocks on which it is built, Casa Brutale reverts the concept and burrows down into the earth itself.
According to the company’s website, the building is designed as “a geometrical translation of the landscape,” and “a statement on the simplicity and harmony of contemporary architecture.” Boasting flexible and adaptable living space, it would have minimal impact on the environment and allow the beauty of nature to be the main attraction.
Constructed from three concrete slabs, the building was designed to slot smoothly into a cliff-top above the Aegean Sea in Greece. Its centerpiece would be a stunning rooftop swimming pool, built from reinforced glass.
Designed to mirror the blue of the sea below and the sky above, the glass-bottomed swimming pool would form the entire upper floor of Casa Brutale. It would allow dappled light to filter down into the rest of the property, creating stunning patterns in the rooms.
Visitors would first descend a set of 50 stairs that cut down through the rock to the entrance, stepping through wooden rotating doors to be met with a breathtaking sea view. The entire front of the property would consist of one giant glass façade, creating those stunning, if stomach-churning, vistas of the sea.
Throughout the property, there would be internal features designed to complement the Brutalist-inspired design. Wood-clad benches would surround a concrete dining table, while a guest room would be tucked away in the beams behind a sheet of glass.
A steel staircase would lead up to the master bedroom on the mezzanine floor. Boasting more incredible views, it would be lined with mirrors to amplify the effects of the natural light.
Casa Brutale isn’t just a stunning architectural design – it’s a practical one too. The building would draw heat from the surrounding earth during cooler weather, and stay cool during the summer thanks to the swimming pool.
When OPA launched their design in 2015, they admitted that their goal was to go viral. “The whole project was designed for almost four months in order to break the internet,” Vassiliou told architecture website ArchDaily. “We wanted to create a sensation in every possible way.”
They certainly succeeded. Over at ArchDaily, their article about Casa Brutale ended up as one of their top 10 most read pieces of 2015. And that wasn’t all. By July 2015, the story of this spectacular home had been picked up by media from around the world. But, despite the design’s popularity, many experts believed that the building would never move beyond the conceptual stage.
Incredibly, the critics are being proved wrong. Spurred on by the media attention, OPA contacted the engineering firm Arup and together they began to plan out the logistics of constructing the house.
The company had received several expressions of interest in the project, but one stood out from all the rest. In October 2015, a potential client flew out to meet the team in Amsterdam and Casa Brutale took another step towards becoming an amazing reality.
Currently, plans are being made to begin work on the building at a location more than 5,000 feet above sea level. Instead of being located above the sparkling Aegean, however, Casa Brutale will finally be realized on a Lebanese cliff-top.
For the team behind OPA, whose careers had previously been characterized by rejection and industry elitism, the message they have taken away from their success is clear. “We would definitely encourage our colleagues to follow the same path,” said Vassiliou. “Dream big, design big, publish big.”