The fortress-like exterior of this house in Portugal provides no clues about the open, light-filled interior it hides. In order to provide an optimal amount of daylight, without having to compromise privacy in an densely built area, architect António Costa Lima designed a house that looks inwards and toward the sky, enveloping itself in seclusion without sacrificing views of the outdoors.


House in Estoril, António Costa Lima, courtyard, Portugal, full-height glazing, green architecture, natural light, ramps and walkways

The house is located in Estoril, a small picturesque town on the Portuguese Riviera. Its densely built surroundings, narrow streets and small plots made it difficult for the architect to engage the street-facing facade and create a strong dialogue with its neighbors. In fact, one of the main design obstacles was the blind wall of a neighboring building.

House in Estoril, António Costa Lima, courtyard, Portugal, full-height glazing, green architecture, natural light, ramps and walkways

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The architect decided to create an inward-looking, undulating building, that wraps around a central courtyard like a blanket. While the exterior walls feature few openings, the openings looking into the courtyard are continuous full-height glazing that draws ample sunlight into the interior and create visual connections throughout the residence.

+ António Costa Lima Arquitectos

Photos by Francisco Nogueira