Fame is in the eye of the beholder, and making it to the cover of Dwell magazine—the de facto bible for design connoisseurs and architecture fanboys such as myself—certainly qualifies as fame. I remember when I first saw the article. A combination of titillation, curiosity, and a little longing (jealousy perhaps?) arose in my psyche upon glancing at this incredibly unusual and conceptual piece of art sitting atop a rugged coastline hill on Maui’s north shore. Making it to the cover of any magazine is certainly notable, but Dwell Magazine (whose tagline is “At Home in the Modern World”) has been holding my attention and approbation for many years. Dwell’s arrival on the publishing scene filled a much-needed gap between Architectural Digest’s stuffy offerings, and all the other house and home style magazines that rarely offered a glimpse into the outlier design and architectural projects that attempted to bring modernism to everyday Americans. Thus an emerging trend in sustainable, clever architecture for everyone was harvested and brazenly delivered onto supermarket shelves. This proliferation allowed us all to sow some fertile design seeds into the soils of our collective imaginations.
House as Landscape. Landscape as House.
So now on to the house. Ahhh… where to begin? Sometimes a little mini-documentary film does a better job than words to give you a quick overview of the concept and execution of the house—so sit back and take a look at this 4K Video presentation starring the Clifftop House in all its serene glory with commentary and bug-eyed adulation provided by yours truly:
Developing a New Approach to Marketing Architecturally Notable Real Estate
When a house is so richly charactered by its design and so forthright with its concept, it certainly deserves a different approach when bringing it to market. The sellers and I came up with a plan to market the house via a custom website that acts more as a “virtual museum exhibit” than a real estate sales site. Thus, mauiclifftophouse.com was born. The website is a tour of the entire timeline of the house from concept line sketches, to model development, to construction to living. The house has been celebrated by different photographers so we have included three different featured photographers and their artistry of capturing the house. Each photographer brings a point of view and celebrates the house as form subject—and what a subject it is! So many interesting angles, textures, ratios. A photographers dream subject.
Accomplishing a Paradoxical Perfection: Minimalism and Comfort
All too often, modernism or minimalism can leave one feeling cold and unwelcome in a space. As an architecture fan, I have a very strict rule: Comfort should always trump style because we mustn’t forget that the function of residential architecture is to give us a joyful space to inhabit. While there is very little furniture in the Clifftop house, there is a materiality that is gentle on the senses. The wood and stucco create a sense of privacy and warmth, while maintaining a soft acoustical space that minimizes echoes in the same way a well-designed concert hall allows sound to reach the audience without unpleasant sonic artifacts. Beanbags and built-in beds and couches offer many different places to hug oneself into the ground, while being tickled visually with the deep blue ocean view. Incidentally, there is no “Cliff” here—just a lovely gently curving hill down to the ocean. Because of how the house is positioned on the site, the ocean view is not “out there” it’s actually “down there.” The eye follows the sloping hill down to the blue beyond. It’s hard to describe in words, but when you are at the house, it’s interesting to see the water below the house. (You can also see helicopters flying below eye level!). Take a look at the comfortable interior of the house:
For a deeper dive into the house visit mauiclifftophouse.com
If you are a Realtor and would like an unbranded version of the above site to share with your clients, please send me an email.
If you would like more information on this or other architecturally significant projects on Maui, please don’t hesitate to send me an email. Liam Ball RB-21691 firstname.lastname@example.org
For further reading on the Clifftop House: