At Casa em Monsaraz, a project by Portuguese architecture firm Aires Mateus & Associados, the surrounding landscape served as the starting point. The green roof, which makes the house almost invisible from the surroundings, is an extension of nature and the vast lake gives the residents a beautiful view.
Portuguese architectural firm Aires Mateus & Associados was founded by brothers Manuel and Francisco Aires Mateus. Many of their projects have contributed to shaping contemporary architecture in Portugal. For each project, the brothers start from what is already present in the environment. This was also the case with the project we are highlighting here: Casa em Monsaraz, which is located at Portugal's Alquiva Lake. The house, which has a green roof that seems to be an extension of the surrounding landscape, is almost invisible from the surroundings. Faced with the boundless expanse of the lake, the house needs a centre: a protected courtyard that embraces the water.
The protected courtyard embraces the water.
Described as the life centre of the house, a large dome unites the various social living spaces. An inverted dome cuts through the first dome, creating an opening that illuminates the space and shapes its precise geometry and boundaries. The residents enter the building via a staircase, which leads to the heart of the house. The kitchen and living room are directly connected to the protected courtyard, the three bedrooms open onto circular patios. From above, the patios and the superior dome, both painted in brilliant white, are the only visible elements in the vast natural landscape.
Does architecture embrace nature, or is it the other way around? A perfect symbioses!
Photography by Rui Cardoso