Located in the seaside town of Afife, Portugal, a beautiful, minimalist house was designed to pay homage to the traditional type of construction found in the region. Designed by Portuguese firm Guilherme Machado Vaz, the geometric Afife House is a cube-like volume clad in bright white with golden-hued shutters that, when closed completely, transform the home into a modern “abstract sculpture” surrounded by greenery.
Tucked into a green landscape that rolls out to the sea, the home’s design is quite modern. According to the architects, although the bright white facade of the geometric home is certainly eye-catching, the inspiration behind the design was to blend the structure into its tranquil surroundings.
Using the local environment to inspire the design, the architects also took into consideration a beloved chapel that is separated from the home by a stone walkway. Not wanting to infringe on the religious site, the designers respectfully restrained the width of the building area to a mere 28 feet.
“The chapel stands on a base of granite walls, and it imposes itself in that area. Its presence had an influence on the project, particularly as regards the design of the volume,” explained the Portuguese architects. “The house sought not to disturb the harmony of this religious space, but at the same time it did not want to be submissive to its presence.”
The white volume is broken up by a series of square windows in various sizes and covered in flat shutters. The shutters on the south elevation are painted in a glossy gold color, a nod to religious triptych paintings. When open, the windows bring plenty of natural light indoors.
The crisp color of the exterior continues throughout the interior living space. The unique layout was inspired by Austrian and Czech architect Adolf Loos’ Raumplan concept, which sees various multi-level spaces being connected by one long staircase that runs through the center of the home. This system helped take the design vertical to make up for its restricted width.
The home also has plenty of exterior spaces, including a flat roof that pulls double duty as an open-air terrace. A circular swimming pool also sits in a square, all-white deck, again adding to the strong character of the design.
Photography by José Campos via Guilherme Machado Vaz