Looking to escape the bustling city life of London, a British couple acquired a small lot in Portugal and built a beautiful rustic home amidst vineyards, pine and olive trees. They commissioned Lisbon-based Camarim Architects to design their second home as a place of tranquility and relaxation. And the architect used some innovative measures to keep it cool.
The house is placed on a hill overlooking the southern tip of Serra de Estrela, the highest point in mainland Portugal. The architects’ design strategy was to interfere as little as possible with the dramatic landscape. They placed the main entrance in the upper part of the plot through a wall that references the traditional slate buildings typical of the region. A path descends into a two-level social space that breaks the volume of the house. Extending from this space is a volume that runs along the topography, subtly separating private and common areas, all of which have direct access to the outdoors.
The house utilizes the thermal mass of soil to provide stabile indoor temperatures throughout the year. The patio between the living room and the master bedroom is also a passive thermal device that creates a thermal differential between the swimming pool and the patio, which generates an ascending air flow across the house for cooling in spring and summer. It also allows intensive insulation of the most innermost point in the house throughout autumn and winter.
Photos by Nelson Garrido