There’s living on the edge, and then there’s THIS.
01 | Holman House, Australia
Inspired by Picasso’s The Bather, this cliff-top house by Durbach Block Jaggers dangles over the sea for spectacular views.
02 | Meteora Monasteries, Greece
In Greek, “meteora” means “suspended in air.” There could be no better name for this mind-blowing monastic settlement.
Founded in the 11th century, these buildings were constructed on top of sandstone towers without the convenience of roads or any modern machinery. Several are still inhabited to this day.
03 | The HemLoft, Canada
Looking almost like a drop of dew, this secret treehouse hangs (somewhat illegally) on a precipitous slope, in a towering stand of hemlocks in Whistler, Canada. If you ever have to be a squatter, this is the way to do it.
04 | Castellfollit de la Roca, Catalonia
Situated on a narrow basalt rock face in Catalonia, tucked between the Fluviá and Toronell Rivers, this village dates back to the Middle Ages. Approximately 1,000 inhabitants still live there, in an area of less than a square kilometre.
05 | Cliff House, Calpe, Spain
Designed by architect Fran Silvestre, this white lime stucco-covered private residence overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, and was built using reinforced concrete slabs pinned to rock.
06 | The Hanging Houses, Spain
Cuenca’s Hanging Houses (Casas Colgadas) were built on a cliff overlooking the Huécar River more than 500 years ago.
07 | Sky High Tree House, France
Balanced delicately among the branches of a 130-foot Austrian pine, you’ll get your cardio in while walking up all the stairs to this spectacular tree house. But the views of nearby Lake Geneva will be worth it.
08 | River House, Serbia
This small cabin, built on a rocky island in the middle of the Drina River, was constructed by a group of boys in 1968 as a clubhouse. It clearly puts my childhood forts to shame.
09 | Fallingwater, Pennsylvania
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater is built into a mountainside and perched over a series of picturesque waterfalls. Wright did such a good job of meshing the home with the surrounding landscape, some of the boulders upon which it is built actually protrude into the interior.
10 | Stahl House, Hollywood Hills
In 1959, Buck Stahl bought a piece of cliffside overlooking Los Angeles for less than $14,000. He envisioned a residence made of glass that would offer panoramic views of the city below.
It took a while, but he finally found an architect mad enough to give it a try. The resulting house, built by the now-famous Pierre Koenig, is a marvel of gravity-defying design.
11 | Villa Amanzi, Phuket, Thailand
This spectacular house is nestled into a narrow ravine that overlooks the Azure sea. That didn’t stop them from sliding a sweet pool in over the massage sala (don’t worry I had to Google it too…it means open pavilion where you get awesome massages).
12 | Monte Rosa Hut, Swiss Alps
This spaceship-looking building is actually a way station for mountaineers that’s perched atop the Gorner Glacier in the Pennine Alps.
Built to resemble a shimmering ice crystal, the hut generates 90 percent of its own energy using photovoltaic solar panels and solar thermal systems.
13 | Socotra Island, Indian Ocean
So many rare and exotic species call this island home, it’s almost like another planet. But for now, we’ll just focus on one species (human) and the dizzying city that they built on top of a coastal cliff.
14 | Takasugi-an Teahouse, Japan
It looks straight out of Dr. Seuss but there’s nothing fictional about this tea house on stilts designed by modern architect Terunobu Fujimori.
The functional domicile is built atop two chestnut trees, cut from a nearby mountain. Its name is Takasugi-an, which means “a tea house built too high.” Perfection!
15 | Fallen Star, San Diego
No, you’re not seeing things. That really is a house dangling off the side of Jacobs Hall at the University of California San Diego. It’s technically a sculpture, built as the 18th addition to the school’s Stuart Collection.
Fallen Star is completely furnished, and features a winding brick path cutting through a generically landscaped front yard that includes tomatoes, wisteria vine, and a plum tree.
16 | Upside Down House, Poland
House dangling off the side of a building not enough for ya? Have one that’s turned completely upside down instead. Built by Polish businessman and philanthropist Daniel Czapiewski, this topsy turvy house is perched in the tiny village of Szymbark. It is meant to be a profound statement about the Communist era and the chaotic state of the world.
17 | Mirrorcube, Sweden
Without exactly the right perspective, you wouldn’t even be able to separate this amazing tree hotel from the surrounding foliage.
Accessible only by a 12-meter-long bridge, those brave enough to journey into the Mirrorcube are rewarded with a double bed, bathroom, lounge, and rooftop terrace.
18 | “Just Enough Room” Island
Thousand Islands (no relation to the salad dressing) is an archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River. This is one of the smallest, appropriately named “Just Enough Room.” You can see why.
19 | Xuankong Temple, China
Fifteen hundred years after its construction (allegedly by a single man) this “hanging temple” in China’s Shanxi Province still dangles 300 feet above the river bed.
20 | Balancing Barn, Suffolk
This shiny vacation home in the English countryside is the epitome of an optical illusion. When It is only when visitors reach the end of the track that they suddenly experience the full length of the volume of the residence, suspended in mid-air by nothing but a bit of clever engineering.
21 | The UFO, Sweden
This sci-fi fantasy is owned by the same brilliant minds that created the Mirrorcube. Suspended in the trees of Harads, Sweden, visitors should be prepared to jet off to worlds unknown…at least in their dreams.
22 | HP Tree House, Australia
This gorgeous Australian residence, designed by MMP Architects, is meant to disturb the forest as little as possible. Which explains why the structure is lifted above the sloping terrain using a galvanized steel support framework.
23 | Nut House, Dusseldorf
This nut-shaped house is mostly supported by stilts, while the rest is strapped to a nearby tree. It’s used as a playroom for the owner’s three children, and as an occasional guest room.