Gallery: Spectacular Handbuilt Home Blossoms Out of Coastal Rocks in Sp...

The Spanish Canary Islands hosts some of the world's most beautiful beaches and important natural attractions. The archipelago also has a long history as the main stopover for Spanish galleons on their way to America, so it's no wonder that this dynamic landscape has attracted a number of hardy adventure seekers looking to take up residence. We immediately fell in love with these no-frill rock homes showcased over at Dwell, which were built by hand directly into the coastal cliffs and caves of the Canaries. Far from your typical high-tech, green homes, these houses utilize traditional design methods that place DIY sustainability at their core. Take a peek into one of these spectacular structures, as photographer Gunnar Knechtel takes us on a tour of a home on the island of Tenerife.

We’ve reported on homes built into cliffs and caves before, but it’s not often that we see such a simple take that forgoes the use of heavy-duty machinery for traditional hand-building techniques. While most of coastal Spain is dotted with modern condos and brick and mortar construction, these humble cottages use craggy promontories and volcanic caves for their structural base. Despite their austere nature they still offer spectacular views over the sparkling ocean, which is literally just a few feet away.

The home featured here, photographed by Knechtel, is a wood construction that is used as a retreat by its owners during the hot summer months. The area is primarily made up of solid rock, but this material helps regulate the home’s interior temperature – particularly in the summer when it keeps things cool for residents. The full integration of the natural landscape also makes for stunning, natural interior decor – in some instances walls are white washed to open the space, and in others the rock is left untreated.

Special touches, such as DIY surfboard benches and paintings, and conveniences such as a television and microwave make the city-to-seaside life transition seamless. While there isn’t much sand to be found in the area, it’s a perfect place for sunbathing, strolling, hiking and community gatherings on the cliffs.

+ Dwell

+ Gunnar Knechtel Photography


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Giommisnc September 22, 2011 at 4:59 am

    It seems these homes have been destroyed – not without lots of painful events and polemics. The coastal law of 1998 has prohibited any construction within certain limits from the coast, applying it retroactively also to homes built much earlier in time (but not to the luxury hotels on the sandy beaches and rocky lines, of course). Villages like Cho Vito have been literally demolished in 2008 and people sent homeless elsewhere ( Incidentally, no official news nor evidence is available of these specific homes having been demolished too. And the big hotels are still there too and pumping money.

  2. 27escape September 20, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Looks like something from the 70’s, are you sure this is not just very old news?

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home