© Sebastián Irarrázaval

21 Manifestly Magnificent Cantilevers

Cantilevered building volumes appear to be levitating, have walls that seemingly disappear and (bonus!) views that extend to the horizon—preferably a tropical ocean.

Luke Barley Luke Barley

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Ever filled out an online survey that asks the question which super power you would rather have, flying or invisibility? For architects this question probably seems silly, for employing the cantilever in their designs does both those things. It gives buildings volumes that appear to be levitating, walls that disappear and (bonus!) views that extend to the horizon—preferably a tropical ocean.

The physics of the cantilever are pretty simple: One end is anchored and the opposite juts dramatically into space. The structure of the building no longer has to rely on the exterior walls for support; it can essentially disappear. This enormously expands the possibilities for materials that can be implemented for the façade, allowing for full-length glazing and experimentation with patterning. Having glass walls from floor to ceiling, for example, is a hallmark of modern architecture, which allows for the integration of the interior spaces with the exterior landscape, such as with Fabi Architekten‘sBlack on Whitehouse below:

© Fabi Architekten

© Fabi Architekten

Black on White (Schwarz auf Weiß) by Fabi Architekten, Wenzenbach, Germany

Additionally, lifting built volumes off the building site and stacking them on top of one another creates dramatic outdoor areas, as evidenced by Original Vision‘s seductive Villa Amanzi below. The functionality of these lush outdoor spaces is helped by the cantilevers overhead, which can supply protection from the elements, essentially creating a hybrid indoor/outdoor room:

© Original Vision

© Original Vision

Villa Amanzi by Original Vision, Phuket, Thailand

Finally, shrinking the foundation and employing a cantilever also solves problems presented by sloped or small building sites. The foundation can be consolidated into a smaller core with living and working areas arranged around this axis. Buildings constructed on the side of mountains using cantilevers are also able to open fully to the surrounding views, creating a visual emphasis on the environments outside the building.

We’ve gathered 21 examples from our database of this magnificent, awe-inspiring and quite functional architectural feature. All hail the cantilever!

Balancing Barn by MVRDV, Thorington, Great Britain (via future-predictor)

© Charles Wright Architects

© Charles Wright Architects

Stamp Houseby Charles Wright Architects, Queensland, Australia

© FISHER ARCHitecture

© FISHER ARCHitecture

The Emerald Art Glass House by FISHER ARCHitecture, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

© Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects

© Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects

HARBOUR ISLE APARTMENTSby Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects, Copenhagen

Norwegian cantilever family houseby Matúš Nedecký, Norway

© AND Architecture

© AND Architecture

Aggrenad Hotelby AND Architecture, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea

© Architectural bureau G.Natkevicius and partners

© Architectural bureau G.Natkevicius and partners

UTRIAIby Architectural bureau G.Natkevicius and partners, Vezaiciai, Lithuania

© Herzog & de Meuron

© Herzog & de Meuron

VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron, Weil am Rhein, Germany (Photos: Iwan Baan)

© Fougeron Architecture

© Fougeron Architecture

Fall House by Fougeron Architecture, Carmel Valley Village, California

© CORREIA/RAGAZZI Arquitectos

© CORREIA/RAGAZZI Arquitectos

Casa no Geresby CORREIA/RAGAZZI Arquitectos, Portugal

© MVRDV

© MVRDV

WoZoCo by MVRDV, Amsterdam

© Coop Himmelb(l)au

© Coop Himmelb(l)au

Busan Cinema Center / Pusan International Film Festival by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Busan, South Korea

© Zaha Hadid Architects

© Zaha Hadid Architects

MAXXI: Museum of XXI Century Arts by Zaha Hadid Architects, Rome

© a-lab

© a-lab

Statoil Regional and International Offices by a-lab, Bærum, Norway

© Elton + Léniz Arquitectos Asociados

© Elton + Léniz Arquitectos Asociados

Casa El Pangue by Elton + Léniz Arquitectos Asociados, El Pangue, Chile

© kadawittfeldarchitektur

© kadawittfeldarchitektur

CELTIC MUSEUM by kadawittfeldarchitektur, Glauburg, Germany

© Sebastián Irarrázaval

© Sebastián Irarrázaval

Caterpillar Houseby Sebastián Irarrázaval, Santiago de Chile

© Escher GuneWardena Architecture

© Escher GuneWardena Architecture

Jamie Residence by Escher GuneWardena Architecture, Pasadena, California

© EASTERN Design Office

© EASTERN Design Office

Mountain & Openingby EASTERN Design Office, Takarazuka, Japan

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© Tadao Ando Architect & Associates

ICHIGONI at 152 Elizabeth Street // Tadao Ando Architect & Associ ates

New York, NY, United States

© Studio MK27

Jungle House // Studio MK27

Guarujá, SP, Brazil

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