House in Alentejo Coast is defined by its relationship to the arid Portuguese landscape and its vegetation. Designed by Aires Mateus, this unique home circles a broad area of trees and sandy floor. The design is reminiscent of a home with a courtyard, but it is an exaggerated courtyard, with less defining walls and more extravagant plantings.
Dictated by the structure's narrow and curvilinear form, the rooms are laid out in a row: one travels through them as if the whole home is a long hallway. A slender great room features a stretch of kitchen and sitting area, while a dining table occupies the space between. The bedrooms are small and practical, tucked thoughtfully in private corners of the dwelling. Oversized windows frame key junctures throughout the space, allowing the user a plentiful gaze at the miniature forest and the alien-like shadows it casts. An irregular shaped swimming pool defines the far corner of the site and completes the circle in the centre.
House in Alentejo Coast has a special relationship with its site: the external environment takes equal importance to the architecture placed upon it. This is contextual architecture at its finest. How rare it is to see a thoroughly liveable home that holds the landscape in such high esteem.
Photography by Juan Rodriguez.