© Camarim Arquitectos / Nelson Garrido
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Gateira is a hamlet placed on a beautiful hill planted with vineyards, pines and olive trees with splendid views over the southern tip of Serra da Estrela, the highest point in mainland Portugal.
The clients - a British couple - wanted a second home to give them space, open air and silence, in contrast to their life in London. The first question: how to design on such a dramatic landscape, with an unusual balance between nature, agriculture and traditional architecture? Our strategy was to interfere as little as possible: one enters the house in the upper part of the plot, through a wall that evokes the region’s traditional slate buildings, and descends onto the house’s core – a social space split in 2 levels. From this space, the house’s volume breaks and extends along the topography in a subtle yet effective separation between social and intimate spaces i.e. every space sits on a different level and has direct access to the outside. We may say that instead of a house in the landscape we thought of a house from the landscape, as though building a walk in the countryside.