One of the ultimate desires of humankind: living on the solitary edge between urban luxury and the embrace of nature. Houses on cliffs and rocks reflect this desire well. You might find your dream house among the next 27 buildings; many of them are true examples of exceptional architectural design and outstanding engineering.

The Cliff House, San Francisco, California (1896-1907).

Photo: Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The Cliff House, San Francisco, California, 2008.

Photo: Eric Risberg/AP

Old house on the cliff on the left bank of Kura River, Tbilisi, Georgia, c1910.

Photo: Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky/Library of Congress

The Kittatinny Hotel, overlooking the Delaware River, Pennsylvania, c1900.

Photo: Library of Congress

House on a cliff on Hierro Island (Canary Islands, Spain).

Photo: JMN/Cover/Getty Images

The Mushroom House, designed by Dale Naegle in the 1960s. La Jolla, California.

Photo: OaklandNative

The Holman House by Durbach Block. Dover Heights, Sydney.

Photo: Durbach Block

Robert Bruno's Steel House near Lubbock, Texas

Photo: Robert Bruno

Town of Manarola, province of La Spezia, Liguria, Italy.

Photo: tonyduckles

Dogon Cliff Houses, Southeastern Mali.

Photo: David Holt London

Castellfollit de la Roca (Catalonia, Spain), a village perched atop a fifty meter-high basalt crag

Photo: Wiros

Hanging Houses of Cuenca, Spain.

Photo: G Travels

Meteora monasteries in Greece.

Photo: Davide78

House On The Rocks by Fran Silvestre Architects. Ayora, Valencia, Spain.

Photo: Fernando Alda/

The Leonard J. Malin Residence, aka Chemosphere, Los Angeles, California. Architect: John Lautner.

Photo: Jeremy Sternberg

The Stahl House, Los Angeles, California. Architect: Pierre Koenig.

Photo: rward2008

The Villa Amanzi by Original Vision Studio. Cape Sol, Phuket, Thailand.

Photo: Original Vision Studio

The Michael Gantert Residence, the last Pierre Koenig design. Hollywood, California.

Photo: Jeremy Sternberg

The Monte Rosa Hut near Zermatt at the foot of Monte Rosa, at an altitude of 2,795 metres, owned by the Swiss Alpine Club, inaugurated in 2009.

Photo: twiga269

The Cliff House by Fearon Hay Architects, overlooking Rangitoto island and the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand.

Photo: Patrick Reynolds/

The Headland House by Fearon Hay Architects, Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

Photo: Patrick Reynolds/

The Sandy Bay Farm House by Fearon Hay Architects, Tututkaka coast. New Zealand.

Photo: Patrick Reynolds/

House on the Cliff by Fran Silvestre Architects, Calp, Spain.

Photo: Diego Opazo/

Cliff House by Altius Architecture. Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada, 2009.

Photo: Altius

Skeleton bay Cottage by Altius Architecture. Ontario, Canada.

Photo: Altius

The Cove 3 by Saota and Antoni Associates. Near Knysna, Western Cape Province, South Africa, 2010.

Photo: Saota

Vame by SAOTA. Yzerfontein, South Africa.

Photo: Saota