Project NameCasa Chouso
ArchitectBruno Dias Arquitectura
Project TeamBruno Lucas Dias, Tânia Matias, Cristiana Henriques
|Project Name||Casa Chouso||Location||
Casal de S.Brás
|Architect||Bruno Dias Arquitectura|
|Project Team||Bruno Lucas Dias, Tânia Matias, Cristiana Henriques||Area (sqm)||420||Completed||2022|
Located in Casal de S. Brás, a small community outside the historic town of Ansião in central Portugal, Casa Chouso was designed by local practice Bruno Dias Arquitectura in dialogue with the natural landscape – nestled between the Nabão River and the Serra de Sicó massifs, the area’s rolling hills are covered in olive groves, holm oaks and grazing pastures. Thoroughly modern in architecture and minimalist in aesthetic, the family house is nevertheless in tune with the rural setting thanks to its low-slung, smoothed-out volume that makes it look like a rocky outcrop, as well as its layout that channels the site’s agricultural past while also ensuring privacy from the nearby road and uninterrupted views of the scenic surroundings.
The house consists of two rectilinear concrete volumes, one housing the living quarters, the other the garage, and a courtyard in-between. The three zones come together under an L-shaped flat roof whose board-form concrete texture and rounded corners imbues the building with a sculptural sensibility. Mirroring the roof’s shape, a concrete podium further amplifies the building’s streamlined profile. The house’s clearly delineated layout encapsulates the architects’ brand of contemporary minimalism, as well as give the project its name – “chouso” meaning a fenced or closed area that shepherds once used as holding area for their flocks.
Conceived as a transitional area, the courtyard between the two volumes takes its cue from the property’s agricultural past – the whole area was once used for grazing pastures – and in particular the discovery of a threshing floor, a flattened area traditionally used by farmers to thresh the grain harvest, often with oxen. Featuring a central planted section with a circular roof opening as a nod to the threshing floor’s traditional shape, the courtyard also houses an outdoor dining and barbeque area which echoes the additional use of the threshing floor as a meeting point for local farmers.
The geometric simplicity and clean lines of the building's exterior carry on inside where a minimalist aesthetic prevails underpinned by white-painted surfaces, hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling openings for views of the surrounding landscape. The living quarters are centred on a light-filled, open-plan living, dining and kitchen area with patio doors on two sides which once opened extends the space onto the concrete-paved terrace. Finally, a study and three bedrooms round up the family house’s modest yet uplifting interiors.