House in Lamego

Ivo Tavares Studio

Nestled among the gorgeous landscape of Lamego, Portugal, is the stunning House in Lamego. The unique dwelling was designed by Portuguese architect António Ildefonso. A dramatic floor plan and oversized terraces set the stage for a unique experience within this residence. According to Ildefonso, the home was designed around the theory of surprise, like a game of hide and seek, “to climb, to understand, to arrive, to enter, to discover.”

House in Lamego is oriented like a V, with the opening facing the landscape. With this layout the structure maximises views while taking advantage of southern sun exposure. Following this ideology, nearly all of the occupiable spaces in the home provide a glimpse of the mountainous landscape.

Due to the grade change of the site, the dwelling’s entrance, including a dramatic foyer, sit level with the landscape. The back of the home is elevated, providing ample space for terraces that float above the earth. The terraces in House in Lamego seem to stretch for days; they are so much a part of the home that the architects can hardly bare to distinguish them, describing them as follows: “the house meets around the terrace and that the terrace is the house or that the house also has a terrace.”

House in Lamego is a stunning blend of style meets substance. The home was clearly designed to be a stunner, and the wow effect is not lost on this viewer. Yet design must serve a greater purpose than the simply dramatic, and House in Lamego fulfils this purpose with a function to back up each design decision. A fine example of this is the outdoor kitchen that sits on part of the main terrace. Adjacent to the main kitchen on the interior, the grilling area provides a practical way for the users to take in the views while preparing a summer meal. Simply lovely.

Tucked beneath the ground floor are storage spaces and a garage. A skylight, visible from the entrance, provides a nice feature for this mostly-underground level. On the interior the finishes were kept simple: white walls, light hardwood floors, all illuminated by an abundance of natural lighting. It is clear that every aspect of the interior was intended to compliment, not overpower, the architecture. Of course, a carefully placed Eames chair never hurts.

House in Lamego is nothing if not ambitious. The angles of the structure, the roof and its adjoining floors, are like nothing we’ve seen in residential architecture. When viewed from above, the home is simply spectacular: a dramatic force strewn over its rocky site. On the ground, the compelling design draws one in and around the home, ending—more often than not—with a framed view of the picturesque scenery. The views, approached in this way, act as a reward for the user, bringing delight with every turn and fulfilling Ildefonso’s promise of a home designed around discovery.

In the shop