Cercal House

Cercal, Portugal
atelier DATA
Richard John Seymour

Designed by Lisbon-based architecture office atelier DATA, Cercal House is a minimalist holiday home where time and space are not separate dimensions but rather interdependent. There is the time that corresponds to the cycles of nature, the time of those who inhabit the place, and the space that is shaped and influenced by the architecture.

Set in the rolling plains of Portugal’s Alentejo region, the archetypal Cercal House is a proposal that explores the possibilities of a new time and space in a location also marked and altered by the novelty of the house. Speaking further to the site of the house, the search for the optimal position and solar orientation was a vital element to the pursuit of the best visual horizon.

The project sought to meet other principles, such as appealing to the traditional house archetype as a structure that carries a solid memory and supports new formal manipulations and spatial interpretations. An introduction of patios as a light-enhancing element and reflection in the interior, doubling the exterior spaces with a more intimate ambience. And a functional programme that considers the social area as the centre of the house, around which is organised the remaining programme of more restricted access.

There is a strong connection between the exterior and interior of Cercal House by extending the roof and projecting a platform that comes from the social area. This space is reinforced by the introduction of sliding panels that expand the confines of the house. The porch becomes a transitional feature that mediates between the exterior and interior.

The prevailing use of pure white colour in walls and floors contrasts the transitory Alentejo blues and browns of the sky and surrounding landscape, making Cercal House a striking minimalist gem that beautifully combines tradition and modernity in architecture.

In the shop