Architects: Manuel Aires Mateus and Francisco Aires Mateus
Location: Aroeira, Portugal
Date of project: 2007-2009
Date of construction: 2009-2010
Collaborators: Francisco Caseiro, Catarina Bello, Serena Santini
Engineer: AFA consult
Surface Area: 1,500 square meters
Building Area: 300 square meters
photographer: Fernando Guerra, FG+SG Architectural Photography
Portuguese architects Aires Mateus, whom you’ve seen before on Yatzer come once again with a very interesting project in the Aroeira district in Portugal. This time the project takes the form of a residence which sits on a 1,500 square meter hexagonal site, from which the house derives its shape. Of course, the hexagonal shape goes easily unnoticed as the site lacks fencing and therefore the land spills out and into the surrounding pine trees blending in with the surrounding landscape.
Covering the maximum possible building surface area according to the zoning regulations of Aroeira the single story residential project occupies a total of 300 square meters of construction; concentric to the six-sided plot it ‘echoes’ the shape of the site. Arranged around a courtyard to which every space converges, the unique form of the residence articulates spaces as an extension of the central space. Beginning from an unpredictable shape, the residence encounters its first sharp boundary in the outline of the canopy. The auxiliary zones resolve the geometry, tranquilizing the main spaces.
However, the hexagonal form of this building which takes the shape of the site, has managed to obtain maximum privacy as the two ends of the house converge. Moreover, the shape of the hexagonal has created a negative space within the form which is used as an internal courtyard. The application of white on the exterior surface of the house makes the volume stand out from the remaining lush scenery; as the stark white volume accentuates from the lush landscape and the surrounding coniferous trees. Selective window openings offer a dialogue between the interior and the exterior, and while they are selective, they quite give you the feeling that what is beyond the window in the interior is part of the exterior.
The interior of this residence is equally impressive to the exterior, it remains simple with the always modern character. The 300 square meters of building space are comprised of a master bedroom, two childrens bedrooms, living room and library, dining room and kitchen, a studio and the garage. The stark white exterior continues on inwards throughout the house, from the ceiling to the walls and the floor, basically, on all vertical and horizontal surfaces. To only be highlighted by accent iconic furniture pieces of the modern era. Selective window openings offer delicate views to the exterior internal courtyard, thus creating a dialogue between the interior and the exterior. Moreover, the views coming into the house leave the viewer with a feeling of serenity, calmness and in someway connected to nature as it creates a symbiosis between man, architecture and nature.
The single story residence only adds on to environement with its given form; it seems as if the house has a movement and the result is a blurring of the divide between nature and structure, space and form. Resulting in a strong symbiosis between the formal architectural elements and its natural surrounding.