House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus has
a cross-shaped plan and a missing corner

| 22 comments
 

A corner appears to have been sliced away from this hilltop house in Portugal by architect Manuel Aires Mateus (photos by Fernando Guerra + slideshow).

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

Manuel Aires Mateus - who alongside brother Francisco runs Lisbon studio Aires Mateus - teamed up with Ana Cravino and Inês Cordovil of fellow Lisbon office SIA Arquitectura to design House in Fontinha for a site outside the rural town of Melides.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

Positioned at the peak of a hill, the two-storey house was conceived as a lookout point offering views out across the Fontinha Estate, but was also planned to offer the same seclusion as a typical courtyard residence.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

"The house is designed in the balance between a courtyard house, with a protected core relating to the sky, and an opening to the distant ocean view," said the architects.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

The building occupies a cross-shaped footprint. Rooms are arranged around three quarters of the plan, while a rectangular terrace extends out from the middle and a swimming pool runs along one side.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

The base of the structure is set into the ground, creating level entrances on both floors. "The topography is modelled, to protect it from the access road, and release the view," said the architects.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

Instead of rectilinear shapes, each block is also gently tapered to make the building appear larger than it actually is.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

The sliced-off corner creates a partial arch on the lower level of the building and accommodates an entrance to a living room.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

This curved shape reoccurs within the houses's minimal white interior, in the arched ceiling that spans the stairwell.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

The house contains three bedrooms, all located on the upper floor. The two smaller rooms sit bedside one another at the back, while the master bedroom is positioned beside the swimming pool and features its own marble-lined shower area.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

The kitchen is also on this floor and features a worktop with a skylight overhead, as well as a triangular fireplace recessed into a corner.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

Three pivoting glass doors open the spaces of this floor out to the terrace, offering residents the opportunity to survey the landscape.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

Photography is by Fernando Guerra.

Here's a short description from Manuel Aires Mateus:


House in Fontinha

On the Grândola crest, the house is designed in the balance between a courtyard house, with a protected core relating to the sky, and an opening to the distant ocean view.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

The topography is modelled, to protect it from the access road, and release the view. The perimeter delineates the internal lodgings and its transitions. High volumetric spaces, occupied by elements that define functions and atmospheres.

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

Location: Melides, Portugal
Date of project: 2009-2011
Date of construction: 2012-2013

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

Architecture: Manuel Aires Mateus
With: SIA arquitectura
Collaborators: Ana Rita Martins
Client: Nuno Correia de Sampaio
Engineer: Betar | Promee | Campo d ́água
Constructor: Mateus Frazão

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus

Surface Area: 130 + 108 sqm
Building Area: 160 + 130 sqm
Site Area: 50000 sqm

House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus
Site plan - click for larger image
House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus
Upper floor plan - click for larger image
House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus
Lower floor plan - click for larger image
House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus
Section one - click for larger image
House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus
Section two - click for larger image
  • rui pedro

    It looks like the house was built on top of a small volcano. The missing corner is ugly and pointless!

    • Douglas Montgomery

      It’s beautiful and intriguing. So hardly pointless.

  • Jay

    AMAZING!

  • jos

    Missing corner = POINT-LESS indeed!

  • bond

    Your “comment” is ugly and pointless.

    • rui pedro

      Can anyone here explain to me the meaning of the missing corner? Can anyone here explain to me when on Earth could it be, at least, beautiful?

  • Galicer

    The idea of the entrance seems truly original and rather interesting, but I can’t avoid thinking that the interior ended up being rather dull.

  • Giulio Paladini

    I just don’t get it.

    • James

      What do you want to get?

  • Allan

    I like the house. This corner void gives it a nice nuance. Very good.

  • Jay

    Some things can not be explained, you simply enjoy them or you don’t.

  • TFO

    It appears that they could not or did not desire grading any more of the hillside. The missing corner deals with the cantilever in a unique way. Not saying it’s the best formal move, but I can see some tectonic logic behind it.

  • paulo

    There is a point, it is the entry to the building and it’s celebrated by notching the corner. A very finessed move on their part. The bleakness of the surroundings is nicely juxtaposed by this slightly ‘plutonic’ set of forms. Wish I had done it!

    • Peter Farman

      Agreed

  • iBear64

    It is a shame that we are still promoting objects in the field as a way of life in these dire eco times. At over 3,000 SF this promotes excessive consumption of our materials and the petrol to build this.

    • Peter Farman

      Please keep your thoughts to yourself as it is intellectual pollution!

  • Edward fitzgerald selby

    Architecture departs from the engineering the solution by using convention in an unconventional way, as dictated by brief or the site. Correct architectural order bends or breaks when the circumstances intervene.

  • Peter Farman

    A beautiful piece of interior + exterior sculptured space – great work

  • Damla

    The house has plenty of corners. Why does one missing corner bother you ( not indicating that you should not have an opinion) but I think what’s pointless here is the lack of windows. The house has a great location and a view, but doesn’t feel spacious.

    • oi guest

      That’s in southern Portugal. Any more windows and it become an oven during summer.

      • UniRes

        Yes, and that’s why every house in Portugal has shutters. Shutters on this house would be an insult.

  • john

    Nice interiors. In this way, once they have finished driving you nuts, you’re already in a psychiatric hospital.