Cliff House: Living on the edge

Marek Hoffmann Autor, Hemd & Hoodie

This is one of those things that you can’t quite believe is true: Is it a real project or is it just a marketing gimmick? Real or not, Australian company Modscape has certainly managed to attract the attention of the media with its Cliff House concept, and this attention will only grow if the concept actually reaches construction.



Background: Apparently, a married couple had expressed the glamorous but not entirely unusual request to have a holiday residence designed for them. The issue was, however, that the couple wanted this residence to be located in a rather steep spot on the southwest coast of Victoria, Australia.

A natural extension of the cliff face

A natural extension or projection of the cliff, which forms one unit with the sea

This request was obviously not a challenge for the company, which specializes in the construction of modular homes — houses that are built according to a modular construction system. These modules are similar to the shipping containers in which workers often make their cups of tea on construction sites, only much more chic. Having set itself extremely high standards in terms of design, innovation and sustainability, Modscape set out to design a house that would be a cliff diver’s paradise.



“Inspired by the way that barnacles grip the hull of ships, a concept was created for a modular home that does not sit on top of the cliff but rather hangs onto the cliff face.” Personally, I think that the design could also be compared to a swallows nest. In any case, the building is designed to give the impression of being a natural extension or projection of the cliff, which forms one unit with the sea. Or, to put it another way: A shack on a cliff would only destroy the beautiful view of the landscape.

Narrow minimalism

Modscape has based the concept for the interior design of the building around minimalism

I admit that the design looks beautiful, but I would not want to live in it — regardless of how strong the steel bolts may be that Modscape is intending to ram into the cliff to secure the modules. In any case, the married couple that has requested this building is expecting to eventually acquire a five-story house with access via the carport in the “penthouse.” An elevator connects all floors together vertically.


Modscape has based the concept for the building’s interior design around minimalism “to ensure that the outstanding views of the sea and the unique spatial experience of the building’s location remain the focus of the design.” Perhaps you are all too aware that a Steinway piano or a marble table could turn the Cliff House into a submarine house. This concern has certainly crossed my mind. Every. Single. Second. Others, meanwhile, are clearly not worried at all:

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