ZACHARY MAINEN AND SUSANA LIMA HOUSE (2014-2022)
A brief requirement: a single open space must be designed for living, working, reading, playing, dancing, cooking and eating.
A like of the house owners: exposed concrete.
A feature of the place: the site is a small plateau on a heavily creased ridge line, which visually dominates the landscape of Melides Mountain, in Alentejo.
The house is located on this small plateau and it is organized into three parts:
A wall, 0.25m thick and 4.20m high, is folded and rigorously cut out, along 35m, forming a sort of fortress and providing the entrance to the house, containing the bathrooms, ample storage and three bedrooms, designed as alcoves, each connected to an intimate courtyard.
A low pavilion-like volume contains the living room, slightly sunken in relation to the surrounding ground level and opened to the landscape in a panoramic view of 180 degrees.
A narrow body, connecting the bedrooms and the living room, contains the space for cooking and dining – the heart of the house.
The outer walls are in pigmented exposed concrete. The interior walls are either covered with lacquered wood (corridor and rooms closets), with handmade tiles (bathrooms), or with exposed French oak wood (alcoves), as a kind of comfortable jacket lining. The walls of the patios are covered with painted plaster up to the ceiling height of the interior spaces. The roof is a garden terrace, so that, together with the climbing vegetation planted along the walls of the patios, its seasonable changes and growth delicately mark the passing of time.
Although the living room walls are mainly glazed, the relation with the outside is strongly defined. The wood borders of the lowered pavement, together with the concrete porches and L-shaped columns that resolve the structural span, effectively frame the landscape view, while controlling the sunlight and extending the living room to the surrounding garden, protected from the northeasterly winds by the rigorous orientation of the body of the rooms.
The organization of the house emphasizes the difference between day and night, light and dark, sleep and wakefulness.
The bedrooms are like cozy hammocks that stretch between trees to sleep in the shade.
The living room is like a blanket that rests on the floor in an open and carefully chosen place to have a picnic, looking at the landscape.
Architecture: José Neves
Collaborators: Fernando Freire, André Matos, José Tavares, André Martins (project phase); Diogo Amaro, Inês Oliveira, João Tereso, Carlos Almada (construction phase); João Pernão, Maria Capelo (colour consultants)
Contractor: Matriz - Sociedade de Construções, Lda.