fran silvestre perches this 'house on the air' along the rugged coast of southern spain

fran silvestre perches this 'house on the air' along the rugged coast of southern spain

house on the air: simplicity within rocky nature


Located in Zahara de los Atunes, the newly completed House on the Air takes shape with architecture by Spanish studio Fran Silvestre Arquitectos. The dwelling stands to exemplify the art of harmonizing built space with nature. Drawing inspiration from the natural surroundings, the team has crafted a structure that both shelters and inspires to contrast minimalist design with the rugged coastline.


Fran Silvestre comments:Zahara de los Atunes is one of those places where the ordinary becomes exceptional. Every day has its sunrise and sunset, but the way it happens in this unique place is difficult to describe.’ It’s from this vantage point that the architects embarked on the design process, envisioning a project that would frame the beauty of its surroundings.

fran silvestre house airimages © Fernando Guerra



fran silvestre sites the home gently on the coast


The architects led by Fran Silvestre are faced with a difficult challenge in the design of the House on the Air, as the terrain of Zahara de los Atunes is marked by slopes and contours. Thus, the structure is crafted to appear as though it was gently perched atop the landscape. The foundation of the house is composed of stones mirroring the grey tones of the local terrain, emphasizing the site’s connection to its natural surroundings. Notably, the name ‘Zahara’ itself has its roots in the Arabic word ‘Sahara,’ which translates to a ‘rocky place.’ This foundation serves a dual purpose — it anchors the house to the landscape while also ensuring that the interior spaces offer unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean, especially the glimmering reflections of the sunset.

fran silvestre house air
the coastal landscape of Zahara de los Atunes inspires the House on the Air



interiors open out broadly in two directions


The House on the Air is designed to provide both exposure to the sweeping landscapes and shelter from the elements. Fran Silvestre Arquitectos divides the home into three distinct areas. The main space, the living room, is positioned between the northwest and southeast to capture both sunset views and an unobstructed view of the sloping landscape through the open interiors. Flanking the living area are bedrooms, which share the same orientation. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the house, a shaded courtyard comes into view, designed to offer respite from the strong winds of Tarifa. This courtyard serves as an entrance to a pair of lower-level bedrooms.

fran silvestre house air
a sunken rear courtyard offers a sanctuary from Tarifa’s strong winds
fran silvestre house air
the house is designed by Fran Silvestre to sit lightly on the rugged terrain fran silvestre perches this 'house on the air' along the rugged coast of southern spaininteriors open broadly through full-height glass to frame views in two directions


material simplicity highlights the colors and textures of the natural context

fran silvestre perches this 'house on the air' along the rugged coast of southern spainthe architecture’s horizontality mirrors that of the distant horizon


sliding glass opens the living space to become a shaded, semi-outdoor porch

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