Built onto a steep rock face on a beach in Lima, this mansion-sized agglomeration of boxy shapes has fine views of the South Pacific, but it's the terrestrial focus of its museum piece of a staircase that lends some much-needed oomph to what looks from the outside like a pretty paint-by-numbers contemporary. Ascending to the second floor takes you past a rock outcropping that Longhi Architects preserved when they built the home, and surrounded with concentric cement slabs to create a cool sculptural effect, on par with the most monolithic of living rooms. Think of it as a small taste of the aesthetic experience of living in a cave without the downsides of going full-on neolithic.
And because one arresting conversation piece is never enough, at the foot of the stairs, a huge circular void opens up in the ceiling, connecting all three floors to a central skylight. Certainly a lot to take in, with those cement columns and all that crop-circle-like accentuation going on, but as always, it's good to know that awesome cliffside dwellings still aren't pulling any punches.
· Rock Cliff Exposed Inside Ocean View Home [Trendir]