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© Francisco Nogueira


Project Name: Three Courtyard House Type of Project: Single family house, 406 sqm Location: Pinheiros de Azeitão, Portugal Architects: João Caldeira Ferrão, João Costa Ribeiro, Madalena Atouguia, Daniela Freire, Rui Jesus, Anna Cañadell Mañé, Sónia Oliveira, Maria João Oliveira Landscape Architecture: Oficina dos jardins lda Consultants: PRPC (structural engineering), Ohmsor (MEP engineering, building physics, acoustics and gas) Contractor: PF Construções lda Project completion date: 2015 Photo Credits: Francisco Nogueira


The house is located in a small village 25km south of Lisbon, within a natural park whose name Azeitao, derives from Arabic, Az-zeitum - the olive grove. Predominantly a rural region, the area has a hot climate, perfect for the production of wine and olive oil. The clients, a couple of agronomists with two children, inherited a long, narrow plot in the middle of the village and decided to move from their apartment, looking for a different way of living.

The house has three courtyards within, to counteract the restrictions of the narrow plot.

The first separates the house from the street, creating a small hideout, secluded from village life and passersby.

The second courtyard is placed at the center, bringing light into the house. It is a walled garden with all spaces revolving around it, a device found in many houses of Arabic tradition in the south of Portugal and Spain. In this courtyard, there's a small circular window in the ground. Below it rests a special room, an octagonal wine cellar, accommodating an extensive wine collection, with rare wines dating from the 19th century.

The third courtyard is a platform; a belvedere open on two sides, overlooking the village and the magnificent vineyards in the hills. Sour cherry trees will provide shade, creating an elevated garden, three meters above ground.