Ten houses, Montemor-o-Novo,
Alentejo, Portugal, 2018

The existing topography is subtly adjusted to accommodate a cluster of low-lying buildings and pools around a shared central space that slopes across the site. Each house has a loose, organic form reminiscent of a single carved object rather than an assembly of elements. Entrances, courtyards and terraces are hollowed-out voids within this solid whole. Low walls form the edge of this shared space, creating a sense of containment and privacy. The roofs slope gently, and cantilever in places to provide shade, while the ground slabs swell in places to make pathways around the house.

Each house is organised around a central courtyard open to the landscape and the sky with living areas forming an interconnected assembly of rooms and spaces. An expansive living area invites both intimate and communal activities and creates visual connections across the house and out to the landscape beyond. In this way, the house feels generous and open on the one hand, and contained and intimate on the other.

The courtyard provides a shaded and naturally ventilated space that allows outdoor living in the heat of summer and protection from wind in the winter. A water pool and a double-sided fireplace increase the possibilities of use to suit season or circumstance.

Project duration: 2006 -
Contract value: €3.1 million
Gross internal area: 3,480 m2