Bruna House

Rui Vieira Oliveira

One of minimalism’s favourite architecture firms is back again with a stunning private residence in Portugal. Rui Vieira Oliveira is a Portugal-based architecture firm known for their dramatic and minimal home designs. Their latest project, Bruna House, named after the client’s daughter, is overflowing with fresh energy and an encapsulating creative concept.

Bruna House is a modern three-story dwelling designed to accommodate a small family. One of the driving aspects of the design was the gorgeous sunsets that wash across the site. According to Rui Vieira Oliveira, the preliminary site visits for the project took place in the evenings, when the sun was just beginning to set. The architects where blown away by the quality of light in this location, thus Bruna House came to be designed with light as a primary inspiration.

The residence is comprised of three stacked rectangular floors. Each story is unique in its design and orientation in order to match the function of the programme and maximise views and light into the home. The first story is on the northern edge of the property and oriented to the street, prioritising access. The living and dining areas are located on the home’s mid-level. The living areas have easy access to the private terrace, where a pool and lounge area are situated. Surrounded by walls of floor to ceiling glass, the main living areas have an inside-outside quality, blurring the distinction between the interior and its immediate surroundings. Perhaps most crucial for this level is the south-facing orientation, which envelops the main rooms in natural light throughout the day.

The uppermost floor consists of three bedrooms and a sculptural terrace. The master bedroom is oriented to the west in order to take in the full effect of the sunsets. One can only imagine the pleasure of standing on the terrace and watching the warm Portuguese sun reflect off the pool as it drifts lower and lower to the horizon.

Architects have long made use of light to enhance their structures, and Rui Vieira Oliveira has proven to be something of a master at this. The specific orientation of each level of Bruna House, and each programme within the level, dictates the amount and quality of light that permeates the interior. Their play with the opaqueness and transparency of the exterior walls, along with the plentiful use of white, allows light to strategically fill and reflect around the building. The result is a home in which the appearance changes with sun and shadow, but which is always illuminated in the most compelling manner.

Bruna House is a lovely example of the many factors that influence a design. A sunset is as good of a creative spark as any, but it is the job of the architect to translate creative kindling into an inhabitable area. Rui Vieira Oliveira does this beautifully, time and time again, across their portfolio of modern and minimal dwellings.

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