Located in the outskirts of Guimarães, Northern Portugal, there stands an intriguing 450 square metre home that beds deep down into the green landscape. As is typical in a subdivision of this peripheral area, this is a dense built environment that restricts the plot. In the initial stage of design for this home, there were concerns about privacy, especially in achieving an indoor-outdoor flow for living. In answer to the conundrum, the architect team at REM’A set the ground floor of the home into the Earth, and explored the use of internal voids to force privacy. Externally, patios promote social use, and extend the living area greatly once vast glass doors are fully retracted.
The home is divided into two floors. Looking at this side of the modern exterior, there is little hint that the patio is laid lower than the surrounding hillside, or that it is only the solid top volume that gives away the homes location on the approach.
The pool patio is very much a part of the home, a natural extension of the main living room.
Vast glass doors make and break the living link between inside and out–but there is always the view.
Concrete walls build a fortress around the modern property, holding back the hillside and supporting the overhanging volumes in the extraordinary architecture. A walkway under the side of the house is punctuated with small trees, which are dappled with daylight in the reveals.
Concrete steps lead up to the surrounding hillside, green and caped by stone walls.
The retaining wall begins at the sunken garage (hidden completely from view here on the left of the house), and ends around at the pool. The wall cuts into the terrain, skewing away from the home–a rotation of the upper volume’s negative. A cutout in the roof of the building allows sunshine to penetrate the large overhang. The sunlight spills through the gap onto the pool patio at ground level, and onto a first floor wooden terrace above it.
The zero edge pool design has a sleek rectangular base to match the outline of the house.
Pool lights highlight the two sections in the design.
With living room doors retracted, the urge to wander freely between indoors and out is irresistable.
The cutout in the roof reveals starry skies.
Windows in the first floor look down through the void, onto the sun patio below, which develops a great sense of relationship between the two levels of the home, and between inside and out.
An outdoor walkway with a clear, frameless glass balustrade strengthen these links further.
The enclosing earth wall results in a pure, blind volume.
Moving inside the home, we find copious amounts of comfortable seating to generously accommodate family and guests.
The extraordinary sectional sofa arrangement forms a huge island in the centre of a long modern living room. Half of the seating faces into the room, toward the television, and the rest gazes out at the terrace and pool.
A single floor lamp adds mood lighting by the end of the sofa.
At the opposite end of the living room, an indoor formal dining area lines right up alongside a cooler outdoor counterpart in the shade. A large dining room chandelier gives the indoor setup a sense of occasion.
The skewed boundary wall beneath the first floor volume creates a skylight at the edge of the outdoor dining room. Exterior lights illuminate the raw concrete fortification.
Large windows allow light to come into the kitchen, but the boundary wall keeps prying eyes out.
The mesmerising staircase design seems to extrude from the homes concrete wall.
Wooden blocks make intermittent treads and risers between each concrete slab.
The upper volume of the home is surrounded by diagonal wood rulers, which alludes to a nest. The cover keeps the bedrooms completely private.
The first floor terrace links the bedrooms.
Fitted wardrobes flank the hallways, flooding every inch.
Unique wall decor floats across the headboard wall of the bedroom. Wooden panels stripe the border, where a MIffy lamp adds whimsy.
Even more white wardrobes serve inside the bedrooms.
The white bathroom is open and spacious.
A rainfall head waits to thunder down inside a walk-in shower design.
The rainfall seems to pour from the sky itself.
Garage doors blend secretly with the concrete boundary of the plot.
One of the boundary walls is geometrically perforated, accentuating a pointed design. Cutaways create light and visual relationships with surroundings.
Plants line the driveway into the car garage, growing a buffer between the thoroughfare and the swimming pool.
The garage is large enough to hold two vehicles.
Under the cover of night, the house emits strange light around its form, as though an interstellar spacecraft has docked right there on the populated hillside.
We can see how the plot is overlooked-and how the design of the house allows not one single glimpse of what’s inside, or under it.
Ground floor plan with living room, dining areas, garage and pool.
First floor plan showing the hallway of closets, and bedroom locations.
Roof plan to illustrate the skylights, and the cutaway over the first floor and ground floor terraces.
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