House in Fontinha by Manuel Aires Mateus features a missing corner

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

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