On the outskirts of Ílhavo, Portugal, architect Maria Fradinho of the firm FRARI – architecture network recently designed and built her own industrial-inspired home and office using a modern and playful house-within-a-house concept. Sandwiched between two red-shingled homes, the contemporary abode stands in stark contrast to its more traditional neighbors. Dubbed the Arch House, the dwelling was named after the “theatricality” of its facade, a simple gabled shape with strong geometric lines and massive walls of glass.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos

white home with gabled roof

The Vista Alegre Porcelain Factory, one of the region’s most important industries, inspired the Arch House design. As a result, the home features a sleek, black, metal-clad exterior. In contrast, the interior is dominated by white surfaces and filled with natural light and strategic views that give the rooms a sense of expansiveness without sacrificing privacy. Full-height glazing also pulls the outdoors in, while indoor-outdoor living is emphasized with a covered patio that spills out to the backyard. A house-within-a-house concept is explored with the insertion of shipping container-inspired stacked volumes, each faced with windows, which overlook the indoor living room on the ground floor.

On the left, black gabled home. On the right, living room with tall ceilings and glass wall.

worm's eye view of person walking on metal perforated floor

“It was important for the architect to guarantee this process of transition from the public to the private, as well as ensuring adequate privacy in the interior, because of the maximum exposure desired,” according to the a project statement. “Inspired by ship containers, the volume set with which the interior is developed, creates a total height in some areas, recreating the great industrial environment of a main ship. This set of different roof heights widens the spaces and makes them more comprehensive, providing a visual relation between the various places in the house.”

Related: A house within a house in Slovakia unfolds in layers

On the left, person standing by high window waving to people below. On the right, person in white and light wood kitchen space.

white home with several windows.

Spanning an area of 300 square meters, the Arch House occupies a little less than a third of its long and narrow lot. The home is spread out across three floors and includes a basement. The open-plan ground floor houses the primary communal spaces, including the living room, kitchen and dining space, while the private areas are located above.

+ FRARI – architecture network

Via ArchDaily

Images by ITS – Ivo Tavares Studio via FRARI – architecture network

White gabled home with several windows