In a changing world, the people in it have also evolved. That’s why the housing solutions of the past no longer work in today’s world. El Refugio, designed by Álvaro Sánchez de Miguel, is a housing project that’s based on real-world lifestyle trends.

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A low rectangle house sits in a dry environment

Fewer and fewer people want to live surrounded by concrete and human-made objects. This is a common situation in Spain, where El Refugio is located. As a result, the home is all about elegant, simple design. It’s also sustainable, budget-friendly and surrounded not by concrete, but by nature.

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A low housing has an open pavilion that connects two buildings

El Refugio is in the Cuatro Calzadas area of Buenavista, Salamanca, Spain. And it can house 84 residents. Local construction materials from Salamanca were used to create the project, including steel, wood and ceramics. The furniture was designed on-site to reduce carbon emissions.

An open pavilion area has two white chairs

A little background: Project Architect Alvaro Sanchez de Miguel was born in Salmanca. He has received international awards and knows firsthand what kind of housing will suit the people of his homeland the best. Therefore, he wanted to create housing that provides spaces for rest, play and work. Simple a warm and welcoming environment.

A bathroom with a glass shower area next to a white toilet next to a sink

Furthermore, El Refugio is tucked into the natural landscape. It is a short distance from the world-famous Plaza Mayor, a historic attraction. It’s only about 90 minutes away from Madrid where there is the food, culture and natural beauty of Spain.

A living room space has a rectangle block in the middle of the room

Moreover, the project is made with a rounded geometry that mimics the nearby Castilian Plateau. The preserved existing vegetation sits surrounded by oak trees. The existing trees were left in place and the project was built around and between them, rather than forcing their removal.

A dining area with a wooden table and a large area that overlooks the scenery outside

The entrance to the building is accessed through a natural lateral path. The porch is designed with latticework to create a lovely private outdoor area. The home is spacious and open inside. There are no doors, no partitions, just wide-open areas and panoramic views of the landscape beyond. The house is situated so that it is protected from the western sun, preventing heat that would make the home harder to keep cool.

The wall of the house has square lights streaming through onto the wall

The final design is a simple, elegant building that sits beautifully tucked into nature. Huge windows and open spaces bring the outside world in. It’s constructed with local materials and designed by a local architect to be the ideal housing solution for its location. Because great housing design doesn’t take away from nature, it adds to it.

+ Álvaro Sánchez de Miguel arquitectos

Images via Álvaro Sánchez de Miguel arquitectos