House in Leiria by ARX Portugal

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House in Leiria by ARX

Residents have to go careful on the roof terrace of this Portuguese house, where gaping chasms drop down to basement courtyards two floors below.

House in Leiria by ARX

Designed by Lisbon studio ARX, the concrete house is situated outside the city of Leiria and comprises two floors, one of which is sunken into the ground.

House in Leiria by ARX

Kitchens and utility rooms in this basement surround the two lower courtyards, while ground floor balconies and terraces overlook them from above.

House in Leiria by ARX

A large open-plan living room is located on this ground floor, as are bedrooms that open out to a private L-shaped garden.

House in Leiria by ARX

An external staircase leads up from one balcony to the roof, which offers a panoramic view of the city skyline beyond.

House in Leiria by ARX

ARX also designed another house with courtyards cut out from the roof, which was popular on Dezeen back in July - see the story here and see more projects in Portugal here.

House in Leiria by ARX

Photography is by Fernando Guerra.

House in Leiria by ARX

Here are some more details about the project from ARX:


House in Leiria

The house is located in a "typical" peripheric urbanization of Pousos, a parish of the municipality of Leiria.

House in Leiria by ARX

Situated east of the city and at high ground, it works as a sort of panoramic belvedere over Leiria.

House in Leiria by ARX

So as to assure for more space and complete access to the faraway view, the owners also bought the three lots ahead, over the "cliff", that were later gathered in a single lot.

House in Leiria by ARX

Although each lot allowed for the construction of a basement and two more storeys, usually compacted and isolated in the centre of the lot, this assemblage allowed the possibility of having a lower house, which "embraced" flatter portions, with garden space.

House in Leiria by ARX

When we went to the place the first time, the streets surrounding the lot had already been made and, because of the earth displacement necessary for the street making, the land rose suddenly, starting from the sidewalk, like a suggestive construction of a topographic nature.

House in Leiria by ARX

On the surroundings, all the neighbour houses were already built and "circled" the lot in an "L" shape.

House in Leiria by ARX

The conception of the house emerges directly from the way we observed this reality.

House in Leiria by ARX

Dealing with a single-family house of large dimensions for local standards, we chose to divide the construction volume in two parts.

House in Leiria by ARX

Half of the construction is buried, like a negative of the land, and assumed as being a part of it.

House in Leiria by ARX

Over that half-land, a second volume is placed, long and flattened, in apparent white concrete. In the inferior volume are located the technical areas, the less used areas or those of support.

House in Leiria by ARX

In the upper volume the socials areas gather around a main courtyard, and the bedrooms around a private second one.

House in Leiria by ARX

Click above for larger image

After all, the main characteristic of this house is the way its dialectical feature comes about: the underground, "natural" half of the building, its upper half, floating and "artificial", and the life flowing between the two.

House in Leiria by ARX

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One face, introverted, intimate, of shadow or reflected light; another, open, glowing, transparent, from where it is possible to enjoy the distant horizon.

House in Leiria by ARX

Click above for larger image

In the end, all that matters, as always in this kind of project, is to understand the life and personality of those who come to us in need of a house design, and try to give them a new meaning for everyday life.

House in Leiria by ARX

Click above for larger image

Owner: Private
Location: Pousos, Leiria, Portugal
Project-construction: 2006-11

House in Leiria by ARX

Click above for larger image

Architecture: ARX Portugal: José Mateus e Nuno Mateus c/ Sofia Raposo, Bruno Gonçalves, Pedro Jesus
Engineerings: SAFRE, Projectos e Estudos de Engenharia, Lda.
Contractor: Manuel Mateus Frazão

House in Leiria by ARX

Click above for larger image

Area: 1.010 m2

  • Aaron

    Nice relationship to the neighbours. Let's hope they never run out of sugar.

  • mik

    looks a bit like an office somehow

  • AAA

    Look like Mies Van der rohe pavillon in Barcelona

  • DeeKay

    Cold, unimaginative, and depressing.
    But on the upside – somewhere to jump from!

  • Drew

    Nothing quite like pissing off the roof of your new house.

  • George

    simple, calm & beautiful.

  • Van

    I always cringe when things are introduced to me as "Beautiful House" with a tiny thumbnail of a vacant box-like institutional looking architecture belying the description. I appreciate the modern/post modern/international "styles" for the simplicity and cleanliness, and efficiency of space. On the other hand, could you imagine being the child in the family of this lifeless, sterile home? Can you envision the jarring terror of being toted, half asleep, hoisted on your father's shoulder after a long soccer game to peak open an eye to this austere mammoth? You don't just walk in…it consumes you.

    • gabi

      The pictures are of empty house. Imagine that filled with furniture…Architecture is not just about the walls or light effects…I actually can imagine a child there, riding a tricycle or playing a ball…I wouldn't let it go on the roof though…
      It's really nice canvas for beautiful life.