The coast has always been a place for the daring.
For fishermen and seafarers, smugglers and marines.
For dreamers and adventurers.
Those looking for security preferred to live inland, where you had to work the fields and not go to the sea to be satisfied.
Or in the cities that were on the waterfront, but mostly turned away from it and where thick walls protected against storms, floods and pirates.
Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
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Today most people in our latitudes think of vacation and not danger when they think of the sea - even if that would be appropriate in some places in view of climate change.
It still takes a certain daring to build directly on the water.
The landscapes are often inhospitable or difficult to access, and there is a threat of flooding and erosion.
Residential houses on the coast are particularly exposed to the weather, they have to withstand strong winds, storms and blazing sun.
Perhaps that is precisely why the house by the sea is a place of longing for many - secluded and exclusive.
The view of the vastness of the ocean suggests a feeling of infinity.
It doesn't look the same for a day.
That is why it is often not the architecture that plays the main role in houses with a waterfront location, but the panorama.
Large window fronts stage the view of the sea, while the house retreats so as not to show off in the coastal landscape.
Modern houses are also based on traditional construction methods, whether whitewashed on Ibiza or the Cyclades or thatched on the North Sea.
Of course, it is also spectacular: houses that lie like yachts on the sea, sit on cliffs or seem to sink into them.
The book “Living by the Sea” from Phaidon Verlag shows how modern architecture can look on and on the water using fifty buildings.
The houses are in Oceania and South America, Asia and Europe, but what they have in common is that they stage their special location.
The first project presented, "The Muraka", is probably going furthest. It is not only located in the Indian Ocean off a Maldives island, but also has an underwater bedroom, the aesthetics of which are strongly reminiscent of old James Bond films. From the bed you can see colorful fish, turtles and rays passing by through a dome made of acrylic glass. The location is always impressive. But is it sustainable when sea levels rise?
Other houses take up the topography of the coast.
The “Los Vilos” house of the Japanese Pritzker Prize winner Ryūe Nishizawa, located in Chile on the Pacific Ocean, with its wave-shaped concrete roof not only recreates the ocean, but also the shape of the surrounding mountains.
While one part of the house seems to be digging into the rock, the other part defies the wild weather.
It is precisely this tension of conforming to and asserting against this particular neighbor that makes the best projects in the book.
Whoever wants to live by the sea has to take it seriously without submitting.
The book “Living by the Sea” will be published by Phaidon Verlag at the end of September. All images are from the book.
The book “Living by the Sea” will be published by Phaidon Verlag at the end of September.
All images are from the book.