Vale da Abelha House
by Duarte Pape

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Portuguese architect Duarte Pape has combined a long stone wall with folding timber facades in this residential extension in northwestern Portugal (+ slideshow).

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Duarte Pape used timber cladding and blue limestone to extend the traditional Portuguese house located in a tiny rural village called Mação.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

"The goal was to create a connection between the old structure and the surrounding nature," explains the architect.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

A long stone wall constructed from Portuguese blue limestone Ataija runs the entire length of the extension and stretches out into the surrounding landscape, providing protection from prevailing northerly winds.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Oriented for maximum sunlight, the south and east facades of the extension are encased in a timber shell with screens that concertina open in front of sliding glass doors.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Constructed from American pine, the timber structure extends beyond the building facade forming a chunky frame that overhangs the veranda.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

A canopy can be suspended within the void of the frame to create a covered outdoor space.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

The blue limestone floor and wall create a uniform backdrop within the interior space, broken up by a central support column that features a small open fireplace.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Private bedrooms and bathrooms are contained within the existing building, while the extension houses living areas, a kitchen and transitional spaces.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Duarte Pape collaborated closely with local carpenters and stonemasons during the design and construction process, including local sculptor Moisés Preto.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Other timber extensions we've recently featured on Dezeen include a converted chapel with a blackened-timber extension and a timber-clad house extension with curvy towers that point outwards like periscopes.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

See all our stories about extensions »

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Earlier this year we featured a Portuguese house that nestles into the landscape with an angular upper level that follows the incline of the hill.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

See more houses in Portugal »

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Photography is by Francisco Nogueira.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape

Here's a project description from the architect:


Located in a small village in the Portuguese North West border, the project arises from the necessity of expansion of a preexisting old housing structure, with typical and vernacular identity, and adaptation to new constructive and spatial requirements.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape
Concept sketch

The preexisting structure – ground floor and first floor levels – hosts the private housing program, rooms and bathrooms, which in the constructive issue, sought to recover some of the traditional construction techniques, keeping as well the humble architecture language.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

The new expansion volume, receives the social housing program – living rooms, kitchen and transition spaces – takes on to an contemporary language that searches for the better landscape framework, connected with the efficient sunlight orientation, that creates an fine relation between interior & exterior space. The option for the wood and noble material facade, contributes to the low visual impact and good integration to surrounding atmosphere.

Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape
First floor plan - click for larger image
Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape
West elevation - click for larger image
Vale da Abelha House by Duarte Pape
East elevation - click for larger image
  • Concerned Citizen

    “The goal was to create a connection between the old structure and the surrounding nature.”

    So he did that with an impenetrable massive wall and a yard of nothing but barren gravel? Was he actually referring to the house in the photographs?