Portuguese firm Atelier 1111 has unveiled a gorgeous home designed to strategically blend into the rural region of Grândola in southern Portugal. The Cottage House is an angular design embedded into a small hillside, putting part of the home underneath the arid landscape. This technique provides the house with a strong thermal envelope, which — along with additional passive cooling strategies such as a green roof and thickened stone walls — boosts energy efficiency.
Using the idyllic setting as inspiration for the design, the exterior of the home is clad in a rammed concrete, which gives the exterior a textured, neutral color that blends in with the arid soil. According to the architects, the rammed concrete was part of the structure’s many passive features, which also include a green roof and thick, insulative walls.
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“Thermal comfort was one of our biggest concerns, especially in the summer, because it is a region with high temperatures,” the architects explained. “We avoid mechanical systems, because we have a green roof and considerable thick walls.”
Although angular in form, the contemporary home manages to subtly and respectfully blend in with its surroundings. Using the rolling topography to their advantage, the architects created a main open-air corridor that weaves through the structure, leading to the interior living space as well as various cutouts that frame the incredible views.
Throughout the interior, the home’s walls and ceilings are also made out of concrete, but in a polished version. Locally-sourced marble was used for the flooring, and the design is enhanced with brass features on the interior doors.
The Cottage House is actually part of a bigger plan that is set to be built on the same site, including a garage and a swimming pool. The design of the home, as well as the remaining buildings, was almost entirely inspired by the surrounding landscape, which is characterized by protected stone pine, olive and cork trees. The sloped land at its highest point provides a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Photography by Nuno Pinto via Atelier 1111
Lovely design, but one question. I've heard of rammed earth, and poured concrete, but what exactly is "rammed concrete"?