This stunning home in the town of Leiria, Portugal, designed by Manuel Aries Mateus, stands tall and solid, looking rather a lot like the pictures of houses that children draw.

It is simple and unadorned, relying instead on its minimalism to impress. It is almost as if someone described a house – four walls and a pointed roof – and it was brought to life in this little town.

There are no conventional windows as you might find in almost any other home. Instead, the home has a gigantic, barn door-sized opening in the front.

A cutout in the ceiling of the main structure allows in natural light that is more than adequate to illuminate the home. Part of the home resides underground, featuring cutout windows in the ground to let light flood the subterranean chambers.

The home, at first glance, may look harshly minimal. But the warm glow that fills it in the daytime from the sun is reflected in the warm light that shines outward after dark, making it seem like a cozy, comfortable place to be.

More from the architects

“The functions are banal: a house divided in private area with bedrooms, and social area with living-rooms. The private areas are at street level under the plot, around a central courtyard with rooms opening to private patios in a intimate environment. The living rooms are around a void, that collects light from above and gazes the castle at the city centre.”

“The house is a recognizable archetype emptied of its centre by the light designed by a three heighted courtyard that opens horizontally at the garden level. The bedroom courtyards, revealed in the garden, relate with this archetypal object providing different readings on its scale. Scale and volume are controlled in a chaotic context, with a clear identity that from its core relates with the historical legacy far away: the Leiria Castle.”