Cottage in Las Herencias

Rural Camouflage

We moved to a completely rural environment. Suddenly everything is calmer, the hours seem to pass slower, and you can breathe quality of life in every corner.

People are kind and not only say hello when you come across them, but it seems almost obligatory to stand up and talk to each other a little.

Our client commissioned us with a comfortable cottage in which to enjoy his retirement, returning to the village where he grew up. Thousands of childhood memories came to his mind during every visit we made with him to follow the evolution of the work.

The large plot of land allowed us to develop a comfortable house on a single floor, which we decided to fragment into elongated modules that connect the street with the backyard.

Some modules are in the shape of a gabled roof house, others are flat roof prisms.

It is in the interspersed combination of these pieces that the project arises. The country house, which seems to be actually several houses if you look at it from the outside, becomes in its interior a succession of wide spaces with different heights, filled by natural light everywhere.

We felt it was disrespectful towards the context to play with too modern design languages in this house, so we decided, without complexes, to use rustic elements from the local collective imagination in our project. In this way, we achieve a country house with a rural appearance, well integrated into its surroundings, but on the other hand it is not a habitual dwelling there at all, since in the end it is a completely different dwelling from any other one that is usually built in the village, both in terms of floor plan and volume and spatiality.

We provided the project with textures, materials, constructive elements and formal games typical of what we imagined we would find in a village in the area, but we played with contemporary design techniques to conceive the building.

In the fields surrounding the site we can find numerous abandoned tobacco drying sheds, which are agricultural buildings that had facades built with brick lattices to encourage cross ventilation inside, and thus better dry the tobacco leaves that hung inside.

As architects, the drying rooms seemed too attractive for us not to incorporate them into our country house in any way, so we decided to create double ventilated facades in certain parts of the house to reduce the passive and natural effect of the sun inside the house.

The windows were marked with wooden lintels, traditional wrought iron grilles and carpentries and blinds were used, green carriage, etc., all of which are elements of the collective imagination of the rural world, without necessarily being elements used in the traditional architecture of the area.

A country house with a contemporary floor plan and spatiality, but camouflaged in the rural world through symbolic elements of village architecture.


  • Status: Built.
  • Project Year: 2016-2018.
  • Location: Las Herencias, Spain.
  • Area: 184,07 m2
  • Design: OOIIO Architecture.
  • Team: Joaquin Millán Villamuelas, Natalia Garmendia Cobo, Gaia Ferrara.
  • Structures: Consultora CPE, Juan Vallejo.
  • Facilities: OOIIO Architecture.
  • Building Engineer: José Vicente Alia Pinto.
  • Safety & Health: José Vicente Alia Pinto.
  • Client: Privado.
  • Builder: Autopromoción.