House in Alfama

House in Alfama is an unassuming white structure in a neighbourhood of Lisbon, Portugal dominated by 18th century buildings. The home, designed by Matos Gameiro Arquitecto, is a renovation of one of the few remaining medieval structures in the area. Despite its modern appearance, House in Alfama is designed in reference to its historic past.

The home was developed over time: originally a part of a larger palace complex, the residence has been divided and subdivided into the smaller dwelling that it is today. This amount of division resulted in a number of courtyards within the home. It is these courtyards that make up the most striking features of House in Alfama today. The courtyards range in appearance from warm wooden decks to natural stone retreats to reflecting pools. In the most dramatic moment a pool covers the entire courtyard area. This “room of water” gives reference to an ancient bathing culture rarely embraced in modern times. I love that House in Alfama is more defined by outdoor space than indoor space.

The interior spaces are regarded as background noise: simple and unfussy, these spaces make use of light coloured walls and natural stone. All the rooms are flooded by natural light, creating a warm interior environment that flows seamlessly with the many exterior rooms.

Photography by Daniel Malhão.