Casa na Gateira zigzags to follow mountain topography

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Casa na Gateira zigzags to follow the topography of a Portuguese mountain landscape

This zigzag-shaped holiday home in northern Portugal features a series of stepped levels, designed by Lisbon architecture studio Camarim Arquitectos to evoke "a walk in the countryside" (+ slideshow).

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

Camarim Arquitectos designed Casa na Gateira as a second home for a British couple, following a brief for "space, open air and silence, in contrast to their life in London."

It is situated on the side of a hill that looks towards mainland Portugal's highest mountain range, the Serra de Estrela.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

The plot is surrounded by vineyards, pines and olive trees, which led the architects to consider ways to respond to the landscape and its combination of nature, agriculture and traditional architecture.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

A cranked slate wall gives the house a traditional rustic appearance when viewed from the nearby road. The rest of the structure nestles into the side of the hill, concealing the building's true scale.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

"Our strategy was to interfere as little as possible," explained Camarim Arquitectos.

"One enters the house in the upper part of the plot, through a wall that evokes the region's traditional slate buildings, and descends onto the house's core – a social space split in two levels."

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

 

From this level, which contains the garage and a bedroom, the building zigzags down the slope, following the site's topography and accommodating different spaces on various stepped levels.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

"We may say that instead of a house in the landscape, we thought of a house from the landscape, as though building a walk in the countryside," the architects added.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

A short set of stairs descends from the entrance into the split-level living space, with the kitchen situated on its upper portion and the lounge and dining space a few steps below.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

Every room in the house has direct access to the outdoors, with the living area opening onto a poolside terrace and an adjacent outdoor dining area.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

A slatted wooden roof shades the dining space, and a similar roof covers a small patio separating the living space from the master bedroom suite.

Similarly, wooden shutters can be closed to provide privacy and protect the interiors from unwanted solar gain.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

The patio between the master bedroom and living area features a wall and floor made from the same slate as the external wall. This space functions as a passive thermal device that helps to insulate the house's innermost rooms.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete

Camarim is led by architects Vasco Matias Correia and Patrícia Sousa. Previously the pair have added a marble-lined steam room to a house in Lisbon and developed a house clad with tiles of various textures and opacities.

Photography is by Nelson Garrido.

Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete
First floor plan – click for larger image
Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete
Roof plan – click for larger image
Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete
Long section – click for larger image
Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos in Portugal residential architecture concrete
Cross section – click for larger image