João Luís Carrilho da Graça

Valadas Weekend Houses . Montemor-O-Novo

João Luís Carrilho da Graça . photos: © FG+SG fotografia de arquitectura | architectural photography

The houses proposed for the L’and Vineyards Resort are part of a turistic hotel and residence complex, near Montemor-o-Novo, designed by a group of international architects.

The master plan, developed by the Promontório office, fits the topographic characteristics present: the intervention site, with a smooth topography, is marked by a sinuous valley that leeds us to an artificial lake, at east. The valley is covered by an large common vineyard, destined to wine production. These topographic features favor the spatial occupation by small and isolated groups of houses, with different ambiences and sights, naturally.
There were two nucleus of houses designed, on the North slope: one located on a small hill and another on the corresponding lower area, which was the first one to be built.
We arrive to this set of seven houses through an “organic” path thats leeds to a central distribution space. With the presence of an existing rock, this space is assumed as an earthy yard, that evokes the essence and way of living of a local typology – the “monte alentejano” – in which, on a topographic elevation, a set of constructions gathers around a central common space, that is not formalized. The radial location of the houses was also influenced by the circular limit of the intervention areas, defined by the master plan.
Each of theses long and linear villas, with an extremely simple nature, is developed along its plot limit, integrated with the ground and the landscape. The parallelepiped is punctuated by a turret that finishes it, redefining the circular perimeter of the whole, and that allows for each house to have views over the surrounding landscape and the Montemor-o-Novo’s Castle. These design options allow the liberation of the maximum exterior area of the house to the creation of open patios with panoramic views. This way, are also reduced the number and visual presence of fences, walls and other dividing elements between plots.

With all the different housing typologies and its specificities, the conceptual design principles for the houses were always kept. This matrix is to be as clear as possible, translated into economic building solutions, with organization rules that could take on multiple appropriations, without losing the identity or the unitary character of the whole, and mostly privileging the quality of the living experience offered by the site.
This way, the entrance to each plot is made directly into the private outdoor patio, where the pool and the pergola contrast with the garden and framing offered by the rural landscape, in the back. This access can be made through the pedestrian entrance or through the private garage.
The social core of the house holds a central position in the whole and it includes the main entrance, the living room, the dinning room and the kitchen, with a laundry room and an adjoining patio. These spaces are fully open to the outdoor patio through a continuous glazed wall, shaded by a pergola. This allows an extension of the interior space to the exterior, not only visually but also physically, with the creation of living and dinning spaces under this pergola. The circulation between the social spaces of the house is highly fluid, as there are not physical partitions. The separation between the living and dinning rooms is made solely by the fireplace, allowing for each space to enjoy the warmth and visual presence of fire.
On each side of the house, are located the most private nucleus, that include the bedrooms, studio and bathrooms. The bedrooms have small windows that allow the interaction with the outdoors, while reducing the thermal losses. There is always a bedroom in the end of the house, that is occasionally open to the Montemor’s Castle, with an open and panoramic view.
Each house is punctuated by a small tower, with a bedroom or studio on the first floor, that ends the parallelepiped volumetry of the house. The roof of this tower is a terrace of sun and permanence, for contemplation. It takes on characteristics of a belvedere, from which you have privileged sights over the surrounding landscape and Montemor-o-Novo’s Castle, in the background.

Date: 2007-2011
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: PROAP, Estudos e Projectos de Arquitectura Paisagista — João Nunes, landscape architect
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING: ENGLIS, Gabinete de Engenharia Civil de Lisboa, Lda.
HYDRAULIC SYSTEMS AND GAS: ENGLIS, Gabinete de Engenharia Civil de Lisboa, Lda.
HVAC: ENGLIS, Gabinete de Engenharia Civil de Lisboa, Lda.
PROMOTOR: Sousa Cunhal, Turismo SA

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