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A life, underground: Could you live in this Spanish cave?

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From Seidler to Murcutt, these homes are instantly recognisable.

People have lived in caves since man first walked the earth, but seldom have their homes had the style of this one.

The contemporary cave house, designed by UMMO Estudio, is part of the Cuevas del Pino estate in the foothills of Sierra Morena near Cordoba in Spain.

It’s an area rich in calcarenite stone that has created various geological formations, including caves that traditionally have been used as shelters for livestock watchmen.

Cave dwelling takes on a whole new meaning in Villarrubia, near Cordoba in Spain.Cave dwelling takes on a whole new meaning in Villarrubia, near Cordoba in Spain. Photo: David Vico/Ummo Estudio

More recently, several of these caves have been rehabilitated for rural housing and other country activities.

The architects for this project, Andrés Moreno and Manuel Murillo, say the pre-existing walls and the rock itself enclosed and defined an area of “great spatial and material wealth”.

They say it was important to create a fluid dialogue between the existing form of the caves and the new construction. At the same time they wanted to respect the organic forms so there is a clear distinction between the old and the new.

The Cave Home in Villarrubia, near Cordoba in Spain.The Cave Home in Villarrubia, near Cordoba in Spain. Photo: David Vico/Ummo Estudio

“Within this dialogue we have created a new spatial experience that manages to value the tectonic nature of the area through the use of new architectural elements – clean, quiet volumes, bright, ample spaces, the use of stone materials for the flooring, such as concrete and marble, and glass openings to the south to conjure natural light.”

Both the new walls and the exterior of the 104 square-metre cave house are painted white to enhance the contrast and sense of space. Handcrafted timber furniture was added for visual warmth.

Cave home

Photo: David Vico/Ummo Estudio

Cave House

Photo: David Vico/Ummo Estudio

Cave House

Photo: David Vico/Ummo Estudio

This story was first published in Stuff.co.nz