Looking for a summer getaway that checks the boxes for chic and environmentally friendly style? Meet Lava Homes, a new eco resort on Azores’ Pico Island that’s a relaxing escape for nature- and yoga-lovers alike. Tucked into a hillside with breathtaking views of the sea, the 14-villa resort was designed by Portuguese architectural firm Diogo Mega Architects to embody nature conservation and sustainable principles as evidenced by its minimized site disturbance, use of renewable energy and locally sourced materials.

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stone and wood buildings overlooking the sea

Completed this year, Lava Homes is located on a steep slope along the north coast of Pico Island in the tiny parish of Santo Amaro, an area with superb views and few tourist lodgings. To respect the island landscape and cultural heritage, the architects preserved elements of existing ruins on site — old houses and animal enclosures — and carefully sited the buildings to minimize site impact and to mimic the layout of a small village.

stone and wood building raised off the ground

living area with gray sofa, wood dining set and wood-burning stove

“The project was designed to alter as little as possible the topography of the land, so that the integration of the houses was as harmonious as possible,” the architects explained. “Our positioning is based on the conservation of nature, environmental quality and the safeguarding of the historical-cultural heritage and local identity. All housing units are equipped with photovoltaic panels, heating is done by salamanders to pellets, cooling is done by natural ventilation, water tanks have been kept for use in the irrigation, and the drinking water served is filtered local water by an active carbon system.”

Related: Azulik, an eco-paradise in Tulum, celebrates the four natural elements

living room with gray sofa in room with glass walls at sunset

dining area with wood tables and glass walls

Lava Homes offers three types of villas that range from one to three bedrooms; a glass-walled multipurpose center with a yoga room, meeting areas and a pool; and Magma, an on-site restaurant and bar that features locally sourced fare. The contemporary architecture was built from locally sourced materials, including stone and Cryptomeria wood from the islands. For energy efficiency, all glass openings are double glazed. Renewable energy sources — from heat pumps and photovoltaic panels to pellet stoves — are used throughout. Rainwater is also recycled for irrigation in the gardens that are planted with native and endemic flora.

+ Diogo Mega Architects

Images via Miguel Cardoso e Diogo Mega

stone buildings with spacious wood decks