Portuguese architect João Branco has revamped a cluster of farm buildings and animal pens to create a weekend retreat for a family in Portugal's Sierra de Janeanes district (+ slideshow).
The renovated house is contained within the rustic stone walls of the old agricultural structures and sheltered beneath a traditional clay-tile roof.
The ground floor of the building steps up and down to adjust to the hilly terrain, grouping the house into four different zones. There's also a new corridor that forms an axis across the length of the plan.
"The usual program of a single-family house is organised so that each space can be used with a degree of intimacy and independence," said the architect.
The largest room of the house is a central living area with a double-height ceiling, exposed stone walls and a combined stove and seating area.
In contrast, the mezzanine floor above is surrounded by wooden floors, surfaces and furniture, and is used by residents as a library. A long desk runs along one side, creating a balcony study space with enough room to seat several people.
A total of five bedrooms are arranged in two groups, positioned at opposite ends of the house. Each has direct access to one of two new courtyards, plus bathrooms are located alongside.
The main dining room and kitchen sit alongside one another in one corner of the building, but also lead out to an outdoor dining area at the highest point of the site.
There's also an outdoor swimming pool that offers views out towards the distant mountains.
"Throughout the work process the idea of contrast and surprise was always present," added Branco. "An exterior that mimics the stony and massive surroundings is very distinct from the sober and very illuminated interior that offers a delicate unexpected encounter in contrast with the rough brutality of the circumambient."
Other renovated Portuguese houses on Dezeen include a former poet's house turned into a writers' retreat and a stable building converted into a holiday home. See more houses in Portugal »
Photography is by Do Mal o Menos.
Here's a project description from the architect:
House in Serra de Janeanes
The access area of this site is a welcoming space as the existing buildings and stone walls convert it in a confined and shady location. As you course along westward, the slope to reach the highest part of the garden is considerable. At this point, stripped of limits, the distant mountains are the only horizon.
The task consisted in converting the agricultural use buildings in a weekend home for a four generation family. Thus, the usual program of a single-family house: living room, dining room, kitchen and five bedrooms, is organised so that each space can be used with a degree of intimacy and independence. To this program was also requested the addition of a library.
The main areas of the house occupy the old corrals - four stony and dark volumes, with very occasional openings, adjacent amongst but with no communication between them, located at different levels and following the slope of the land with North orientation.
The project proposes two fundamental operations: first a new longitudinal axis that cuts across the various existing buildings, like a corridor carved in stone that unites the various spaces. Secondly, two new patios enable natural light to reach the innermost parts of the house.
The work is completed with an exterior dining area and a swimming pool located near the existing barn floor at the upper part of the land, taking advantage of the best views and most advantageous sun exposure. Throughout the work process the idea of contrast and surprise was always present. An exterior that mimics the stony and massive surroundings is very distinct from the sober and very illuminated interior that offers a delicate unexpected encounter in contrast with the rough brutality of the circumambient.