In a small village in the rural centre of Portugal, Henrique Barros-Gomes has peeled back the years of an old community oven to create a one-bedroom holiday home. Owned by the client’s family for decades, the building was a small, single-story volume with thick exposed granite walls and a gable roof. A walled area, including an almost ruined porch, complemented the property. This most recent intervention retains the existing stone walls and rural charm but adds contemporary insertions to create a bright, liveable, two-story space.
Due to the region’s climate, an important aspect of the brief was to provide a comfortable living space for both cold winters and stifling hot summers. The building, like many others around it, remained closed and unused for more than half a century. However, the client and Henrique Barros-Gomes saw its potential.
After carefully analyzing the existing structure, the architect decided to retain the thick external walls and raise them to the height of the neighbouring construction, allowing for a bigger volume and the possibility of building a mezzanine. The discrete and traditional exterior has also been maintained, creating a more tangible contrast to the contemporary interior. Furthermore, to compensate for the lack of space inside, the number of partitions is reduced to the bare minimum. Finally, the walled area has been converted into a small garden, with a covered space for outdoor dining and a water element to ease the sweltering summers.
An austere exterior, materialized in rough granite, blends gently with the surrounding constructions but contrasts with a clearly contemporary interior. Inside is delicately shaped into a cosy, warm, and comfortable space, which is surprisingly bright considering that the traditional constructions in the area typically have dark and gloomy interiors. a loft-like interior gathers the kitchen, living, and dining areas into a single space at the entrance level, while the private areas are contained in a mezzanine above.
The main feature of the entire intervention is the customized stair-bench-table-fireplace, that sets all the rules for the construction. This is the generating element of all the internal geometries, and the guiding thread of the entire project, which accentuates the verticality of the double-height area. it is also a reinterpretation of Carlo Scarpa's Olivetti showroom in Venice, and humble homage to the great Italian master.
The input of natural light is carefully controlled through wall and roof openings, creating dramatic effects on the bush-hammered stone and wooden elements and changing the ambience of the house throughout the day. customized carpentries help add a sense of quality to space while affording multiple storage areas. the walled patio includes a shed, a garden, a few trees that will hopefully age with the house, and a small stone-clad pond. a corten steel raised flower bed awaits for plants.
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Photo by Design Boom