Flashy modern design, while it has its place, in most cases simply cannot compare to the simple, traditional architecture of the world. The La Vall de Laguar House by Enproyecto Arquitectura in Spain is a shining example of how smaller and simpler is often better.
The site of the home – a small mountainside village in an out-of-reach location – would only legally allow for a very small structure. A maximum footprint of 25 square meters (or 82 square feet) meant that the building had to be quite restrained.
The builders were, however, allowed to build up rather than out. While the ground level of the house features a living room and kitchen, the top level houses a single bedroom.
The planning regulations also allowed for a buried cistern level of 50 square meters. In this case, the space of the cistern is occupied by a second bedroom, a studio and a bathroom.
Skylights built at the surface level allow light into the underground space. On the surface, they appear to be two built-in benches just outside of the home’s door. They blend into the surroundings just like the rest of the home, which is made from local stone.
Because the home is so small, the architects did not want to build storage space that extended into the living space and reduced the overall available area. One of the side walls is therefore slightly thicker than the others to house storage spaces and fireplaces, creating the illusion of a more open interior.
“The simple house, situated in a village perched on a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, is located on a site not easily accessible, full of cherries and open views.”
“The planning regulations only allowed a small building to store agricultural tools not exceeding 25 m2 and a buried cistern to water of 50 m2 . The main space of this construction becomes in this case in a living room and kitchen, and upon it, taking advantage of the height permitted, one bedroom. Underneath, a studio, one bedroom and a bathroom occupy the space of the cistern. To allow the lighting of these underground spaces, two large skylights allow incoming daylight, while on the surface these two skylights become in seats.”
“To simplify the distribution of such a small space, one of the side walls gets thicker to accommodate storage spaces, cupboards and fireplace, leaving the rest of the space released. The exterior of the house tries to blend with the environment. It uses local stone laid dry, following the construction system of the stone of the retaining walls of the terraces in the area.”