Cliff House

Perched on a cliff in Kerala with a 200ft drop to an expansive grove of coconut trees, beach and the Arabian sea, the house derives it’s form from an emotive response to the site. A skewed sheer concrete wall 45m long supports a single triangulated canopy roof that lunges out towards the view.

We designed the home keeping the180 degree panorama of the sea constantly in mind. The response to the site was bold as we imagined the dramatic wall and roof bringing the sea, air and the sky in without barriers. Only half of the 1,400 sqm of built area is actually defined by four walls. The rest is kept open and intelligently permeable to the elements.

Ample overhangs were provided specially on the main roof to protect against the fierce western sun and monsoon rain. Since large expanses of glass would trap the heat in this environment, we devised a system of louvered wooden sliding and folding shutters for the doors and windows to let the sea breezes right through.

On entering the house, the open plan voluminous foyer frames an ample infinity edge pool via portals and is flanked on either side by rooms connected on the upper level by a walkway. The overriding canopy roof is clad on the underside entirely with eco-friendly timber that offsets with warmth the large expanses of kota flooring, concrete and polished cement.

Bathrooms have open to sky courtyards that connect visually to the bedrooms, and furniture and accessories are kept to a minimal few so as not to stray from the natural environment and views.

ClientMike Manwaring

Project Details 14,000 sq. ft.
Kerala, 2010

Photographer Bharath Ramamrutham

My key priorities were that the design had to be open to the elements. I think when you’re in an environment, you need to get used to it, rather than being separated from it. Apart from a dramatic piece of design that lunges itself towards the view, the Architects have created a calm, flowing space unrestricted by walls and glass windows. I love its sense of spaciousness and Zen-like peace. India is a chaotic and frenetic place , but when I step inside the house I’m overcome with a very ethereal feeling.

Mike Manwaring, Home Owner