Old Stones, New Buildings: 7 Iberian Residential Renovations Keeping the Mediterranean Spirit Alive

From thick stone walls to sun-soaked courtyards, these seven renovations in Spain and Portugal honor their Mediterranean roots.

Kalina Prelikj Kalina Prelikj

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As the weather gets warmer, the allure of the Mediterranean becomes irresistible. Picture yourself sitting under an olive tree with a cold glass of wine, basking in the sun’s golden glow and feeling the gentle sea breeze. Mediterranean architecture embodies this idyllic atmosphere with its timeless features like sun-soaked courtyards, thick stone walls and indoor-outdoor spaces. The rustic charm of natural stone, terracotta tile and warm wood details come together to create inviting environments.

This collection highlights seven incredible renovations from Spain and Portugal that blend the old and new, keeping historic elements intact while adapting them for modern living. From sun-soaked courtyards to charming stone facades, each of these Iberian gems beautifully preserves the Mediterranean spirit while bringing contemporary comfort to the forefront.

Can Santacilia

By OHLAB / oliver hernaiz architecture lab, Palma, Spain

This 35,520 square foot (3,300 square meter) residential project in the heart of Palma de Mallorca old town is the result of a careful renovation of two buildings dating back from the 12th or 13th century. OHLAB’s renovation project took advantage of the existing buildings’ complex design to create unexpected common spaces including inner courtyards, a swimming pool with a spy and a gym, that unite the two buildings.

What captures the Mediterranean essence, however, is the gorgeous material palette. The project combines restored historical materials from the buildings with new noble ones such as antique bronze pieces, local stones, mirrored cloths, porcelain details, local linen and cotton textiles. The result is a unique dwelling complex that draws from its Mediterranean roots, while upholding contemporary living standards and sustainability parameters.


By António Costa Lima Arquitectos, Lisbon, Portugal

Popular Choice Winner, 8th Annual A+Awards, Architecture +Brick

Located in Lisbon’s Rua da Junqueira, this renovation breathes new life into a historic warehouse. The project preserves the building’s original walled perimeter while integrating a contemporary house within its existing form. In true Mediterranean fashion, the design emphasizes open and light-filled spaces. Solid volumes and empty spaces are interspersed, creating three patios and a fragmented layout. Living spaces are on the first and second floors, while the upper level offers open views of the river.

A new steel structure supports the new volume and partially suspends it above the ground floor, which includes parking, an entrance area and a library. A central staircase connects all three floors, with private areas in the middle and social spaces above.

Nil Dos House

By Valentí Albareda Studio, Spain

Jury Winner, 9th & 10th Annual A+Awards, Residential Interiors (<3,000 sq ft)

Originally a warehouse for a construction company in the Gràcia neighborhood, this ground-floor space was transformed into a bright, welcoming home by Valentí Albareda Studio. The design team tackled the challenge of a compartmentalized interior and lack of natural light by incorporating a courtyard at the rear of the property.

Now, large windows and an iron swivel door bring an abundance of light into the home and connect it to the backyard, creating an inviting Mediterranean-inspired space. Pinewood attics and custom furniture blend with the original materials to create a harmonious living environment.

A white color palette emphasizes the ample light, while every design detail—from heating radiators to bedside tables — has been thoughtfully crafted to complement the overall aesthetic.

Refurbishment for Alejandro and Inma

By Pablo Muñoz Payá Arquitectos, Alicante, Spain

With the intense Mediterranean light and beautiful olive trees, who wouldn’t want to move to the countryside? This renovation project made it possible for Alejandro and Inma. Without extending the original surface area, the house’s thick opaque walls were opened up, allowing for more light and space. The existing roof is extended over the old storage room, preserving the ceramic gable roof.

In contrast to the old low ceilings of the house, the renovation project lowers the living room area by three steps, gaining more height. Since the common areas are located on the North side, a large window opens up to the courtyard, allowing for beautiful views while offering protection from direct sunlight.

The use of natural oak wood in the common areas gives all the warmth to the refurbishment, combined with the golden glow of the Mediterranean light. On the outside, dry stone laid with the traditional technique of masonry is used in some parts of the façade and over the swimming pool, blending the house with the landscape.

Rates House

By ATELIERDACOSTA, Povoa de Varzim, Portugal

Facing the street on one end and a vast field on the other, the long plot presented an interesting challenge due to the significant difference in elevation. The original stone house, in a state of ruin, was expanded and consolidated to more than double its original size.

ATELIERDACOSTA preserved two pre-existing schist stone volumes: one now houses the rooms, while the other is transformed into an exterior patio. The new concrete “coffer” wraps around and integrates the old structures, creating a seamless transition from street level to the secluded fields in the north.

Four distinct patios, two facing the street and two overlooking the fields, bring light and air into the home while providing a private atmosphere that embodies the Mediterranean allure. Concrete walls and slabs adapt to the existing structures and a new organizing axis, defining technical spaces and storage areas.

Refurbishment of a country house in Empordà, Spain

By ARQUITECTURA-G, Girona, Spain

This renovation transformed a labyrinthine country house on the outskirts of a village in Empordà. Multiple extensions had resulted in a series of small, dark rooms. ARQUITECTURA-G reimagined the home by merging existing patios, adding new ones and creating interconnected spaces filled with light.

A new central courtyard and swimming pool now form the heart of the house, while additional courtyards and windows bring in natural light. Stone walls and broken white tones create a neutral palette, while brown-glazed tiles visually connect different areas. The result is a bright, inviting space that stays true to its Mediterranean roots.

Rural House in Portugal

By Henrique Barros-Gomes, Aldeia de João Pires, Portugal

Ricardo Oliveira Alves Architecture Photography and Video – Fotografia e vídeo de arquitetura 

This renovation transformed an ancient community oven into a charming single-bedroom vacation house. Originally a small, single-story structure with exposed granite walls, the project expanded the home by raising the exterior walls and creating a mezzanine.

The renovation aimed to retain the building’s traditional exterior while introducing a contemporary and comfortable interior. A loft-like layout maximizes the space, with the kitchen, living and dining areas on the ground level and private areas on the mezzanine.

A central custom stair-bench-table-fireplace serves as the focal point, anchoring the design and providing storage and seating. Outside, a walled courtyard with a garden, covered dining area and a small pond add to the Mediterranean character of the building.

Architects: Want to have your project featured? Showcase your work through Architizer and sign up for our inspirational newsletters.
Kalina Prelikj Author: Kalina Prelikj
A jack of all trades and a soon-to-be Master of Architecture, Kalina enjoys embracing her creative side and has dabbled in everything from marketing to design to communications. However, her main interest lies in architecture, as she loves to explore how it shapes our communities and transforms our daily experiences. With a deep appreciation for the art of puns, Kalina is constantly on the lookout for opportunities to craft clever wordplay.
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