Honeyman and Smith floods historical residence with natural light
The house in the stone: back to Palaeolithic
Designers of Ummoestudio deliver dwelling project embedded into natural elements
Cave House is a 104 square-metre dwelling excavated in stone at Cuevas del Pino, right in the foothills of Sierra Morena, Spain. The architecture stretches on a calcarenite stone terrain that gave rise to various geological formations, among which are the caves traditionally used by the Caliphate of Cordoba for farming and livestock during Al-Andalus golden days.
One of these hollows in the rock – once used as rough shelters by livestock watchmen – has been restored into a rural residence that blends wild nature with contemporary design.
Architects of Ummoestudio opted for staying true to the site’s unique structure, thus focusing toward a smooth and seamless interaction between the pre-existing features and the new architecture in the name of a respectful and non-intrusive approach. In terms of design strategy, proximity rather than direct contact between natural elements and modern adjustments has been deliberately pursued.
A brand new spatial experience generated from such fluid dialogue so as to enhance the landscape’s natural shape through the use of new architectural elements: essential volumes, large and ample spaces, concrete and marble floorings, south-facing picture windows meant to maximise the amount of daylight, and handmade wooden furniture that help give this more than unusual cave house a warm touch.
The building is surrounded by 3,000 square-metre garden on a 23-hectare estate dedicated to biological farming; a path leads up to the house, where an outdoor roof staircase allows for panoramic views of the lavish immediate surroundings.
Such intermediate area contributes to improve the residence's indoor-outdoor communication, whilst displaying a truly efficient interaction between the stone's solidity and the new, minimalistic architecture.
Apart from catching copious quantities of sunlight, the glazed facade is conceived to create see-though openings between the separate habitats, which share an homogeneous thermal sensation during the entire year.
Well-aware of the site’s huge tectonic value, architects decided to leave the stone ceilings and walls almost untouched, while developing a collection of multifunctional spaces able to meet a wide array of housing needs.
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