Atalaya Shelter – A Basic Retreat by Architecture Student Jaime Inostroza

This wooden shelter can be found in the Sonora Desert of Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s been designed and built as part of a project by The School of Architect at Taliesin.


Jaime Inostroza, a student of the program, created the getaway with the aid of his mentor Aaron Betsky. Inostroza aim was to produce a quiet, simple structure, suitable for overnight stays.

Atalaya Shelter Jaime Inostroza United States Exterior 1 Humble Homes


The project has been dubbed Atalaya Shelter and contains 161-square-foot (14.96-square-meters) of space, which is just enough for a single bed and a small sitting platform. It’s elevated off of the ground level to provide a better view of the surrounding desert land.

Atalaya Shelter Jaime Inostroza United States Exterior 2 Humble Homes


Raising the structure also helps protect against any unwanted pests and animals. It’s set on a series of small concrete foundations and wrapped by a concrete and stone walls, which also forms the start of the entry staircase. A few more wooden steps take you into the main body of the retreat.

Atalaya Shelter Jaime Inostroza United States Bed Humble Homes

On the inside you’ll find it’s furnished simply by a bed. The “walls” don’t run all the way to the roof. Instead they fall short by a few inches to allow the space to ventilate. The roof is composed of polycarbonate sheeting – a versatile and increasingly popular building material as of recent years.

Atalaya Shelter Jaime Inostroza United States Bed 2 Humble Homes

From Inostroza: “From that observation of the site my principle was to develop an entrance procession that would let me dwell within the horizon of the Alameda of the Palos Verdes. Because of that the name of the project is ‘Atalaya’, which means crow nest. It is the highest point from the boat where you can see the horizon across the ocean.”

Atalaya Shelter Jaime Inostroza United States Floor Plan Humble Homes

For more spaces and unusual places check out DreamDive, a back-to-basics retreat by Studio North in Canada. Or, Mirror Mirror, a rooftop extensions that takes inspiration from treehouses. See all spaces.

Via ArchDaily
Photos: Andrew Pielage

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.