Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Santa Luzia mountains, Afife is situated in an ecological landscape known for its hidden white sand beaches. Even though it stands in the upmost north region of Portugal, it’s still a well-known tourist attraction. Among the many visual features the region has to offer, arquitetura chã stands out as an integral part of the region’s offerings. House in Afife is no stranger to such influence.
The project was conceived by Guilherme Machado Vaz, a skilful architect with a penchant for a modern take on Portuguese tropes. The briefing was simple, though it would greatly influence how the project was conceived. Firstly, to respect the natural topography of the land, consequently, the dwelling was adapted to the existing elevations through half floors, which allowed a direct relationship with the exterior on the South and West side of the house. Secondly, there was a condition not to disturb the visual harmony of its surroundings, given House in Afife is a direct neighbour to a chapel.
With that in mind, the volume was established away from the street. But it is not a inconspicuous presence. The white cube outer shell is evident from afar. When all the windows are closed, the facade is striking and brings forth privacy as the utmost priority. When the windows and doors are drawn open, a golden shimmer is introduced as a visual feature bringing a sense of playful luxury. The regular volume, compact and vertical, evokes the essence of a traditional type of construction in the region of Minho.
There is a clear division between the interior and the exterior, and it is evident not only by aforementioned windows but by the interior design. On the inside, some rooms do show restraint. On the other hand, one can find rustic, industrial, and classic Portuguese elements as well. The modernist and pure stance of the outside, is broken once on the inside with varied styles and materials.
The minimalist approach on the outside continues with an extraordinary swimming pool on the patio. The shallow borders housing the deeper circle in the middle, making for a beautiful geometric composition. It is both a feature that represents the playfulness of the inside, and the chic austerity of the minimalist stance that purveys the project.