Pierced in a beautiful hill planted with vineyards, pines and olive, Casa na Gateira by Camarim Arquitectos offers striking views over the southern tip of Serra da Estrela, the highest point in mainland Portugal.
Working on the project, the design team — led by Vasco Matias Correia and Patrícia Ferreira de Sousa — sought to interfere as little as possible with the dramatic landscape. To do that, the property adopts a low-profile, with three connected volumes built into the terrain. The entrance to the house is set on the upper level of the property, sourrounded by a wall that evokes the region’s traditional slate buildings and descends towards the house’s core.
From this space, the house’s volume breaks and extends along the topography in a subtle yet effective separation between social and intimate, where every space sits on a different level and has direct access to the outside. “We may say that instead of a house in the landscape we thought of a house from the landscape,” explain architects.
Conceived as a ‘walk in the countryside’, the building’s layout also results in environmental benefits, with a high thermal mass ensuring a balanced internal environment. The patio between the living room and the master bedroom is also a passive thermal device: it creates a thermal differential between the swimming pool and the patio, which generates an ascending air flow across the house for cooling in spring and summer, and it allows intensive insulation of the most innermost point in the house in autumn and winter.
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