People build houses on mountains for unobstructed views of the surroundings. Paritzki & Liani Architects built a house on a mountain, and gave their clients an unobstructed view of, well, the mountain itself. And an extreme close-up at that. The five-story manse, in Jerusalem, is virtually pressed into the peak, many of its windows framing a sheer rock wall the way other windows might frame a sweeping valley.
“From our very first visit to the site, impressed by a pink Cyclamen growing out of the rocky face, we decided to allow ourselves to be guided by the raw state of the terrain,” the architects say. Raw is putting it mildly: The slope was steep, knobby, and terribly inhospitable to man-made intrusions (see elevation above). So rather than force the mountain to cater to the architecture, they forced the architecture to cater to the mountain. They designed an L-shaped plan on the first floor that wraps around the rock formation. Then, instead of building solid walls, they slathered the place in glass, glass, and more glass. At max, the panes are just a few feet from the rock face, emphasizing its reddish-bronze coloring and dramatically unpolished facets. Glancing through the house, the rock appears almost like an unfinished sculpture stashed behind a display case.
Aesthetics aside, there was a practical reason for ushering the mountain indoors. The small gap between the windows and the rock invites ribbons of light into the house the way a solid wall never could. Bonus: The glass doesn’t just face the rock. It faces the other side of the mountain, too, which means residents of the Barud House get their treasured panoramic views, after all.