The difference between architecture and other design disciplines is how location sensitive it is. Natural phenomena like topography and climate meld with the local cultures, traditions and laws to ensure that architects face unique challenges with each new project. And with a setting as majestic as the Pyrenees, it’s hardly surprising that architects Cadaval & Sola-Morales have gone to lengths to stay true to the local vernacular with their “House in the Pyrenees.”

Located in the breathtaking Canejan, Valle de Aran in Spain, this house is actually a retrofit whose brief was to create two houses in one for a multigenerational family. Cadaval & Solà-Morales have created two independent yet interconnected spaces in one compact envelope. The area is known for its dry stone foundations and compact architecture with minimal external openings. The house mixes a first floor of dry stone with sleek modern peak that takes its cues from traditional architecture. Besides a row of picture frame windows on the façade, there is minimal glazing, with the majority of natural light entering through the floor-to-peak windows on the side. The architects squeezed some more light out through a row of skylights facing the mountain. All these carefully disguised windows let in not only much needed light, but also the spectacular views of the mountains, the main drawing card for living in this area.

While we’re not fans of architects being constrained by local building regulations, it is heartening to see the sensitivity that the architects employed when designing this house in the Pyrenees. Not only does it sit beautifully in this idyllic valley, but it also gets the most out of the site as only modern architecture can.