Where the Wild Things Aren't

written by:
photos by:
January 16, 2009
Originally published in Living Landscapes
In Vieira do Minho, a small village in northern Portugal, Guilherme Vaz designed a fortresslike retreat that embraces the natural landscape while keeping it at bay.
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  With its simple rectangular form, the house has an infrastructural presence in the landscape, making it appear as if the house itself is holding back the steep hill.
    With its simple rectangular form, the house has an infrastructural presence in the landscape, making it appear as if the house itself is holding back the steep hill.
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  The Valley House flows down along the site, integrating smoothly into the sloping hills. A view from the rambling path behind the house gives a clear view of the green roof and the not-so-green swimming pool on top of it.
    The Valley House flows down along the site, integrating smoothly into the sloping hills. A view from the rambling path behind the house gives a clear view of the green roof and the not-so-green swimming pool on top of it.
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  The veranda is the Valley House’s defining feature and serves as a communal space for the family to sit and enjoy nature. The more traditional rattan furniture fits well with Vaz’s local vernacular, as the Portuguese were the first to bring rattan to the West from the East.
    The veranda is the Valley House’s defining feature and serves as a communal space for the family to sit and enjoy nature. The more traditional rattan furniture fits well with Vaz’s local vernacular, as the Portuguese were the first to bring rattan to the West from the East.
  • 
  A Le Corbusier chaise longue invites guests to relax in front of the stunning panoramic view.
    A Le Corbusier chaise longue invites guests to relax in front of the stunning panoramic view.
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  Vaz’s father’s restrained aesthetic is carried in the interior design scheme, which is reserved to the point of being austere. The light-colored, knotted wood provides a desirable warmth to the sparsely decorated space, which doesn’t in any way aim to compete with the outdoor scenery. Portuguese designer Álvaro Siza’s Lorosae pendant lamp bathes the simply furnished kitchen in warm light.
    Vaz’s father’s restrained aesthetic is carried in the interior design scheme, which is reserved to the point of being austere. The light-colored, knotted wood provides a desirable warmth to the sparsely decorated space, which doesn’t in any way aim to compete with the outdoor scenery. Portuguese designer Álvaro Siza’s Lorosae pendant lamp bathes the simply furnished kitchen in warm light.
  • 
  Despite being meticulously maintained, bits of unruly vegetation find their way onto the house’s pristine concrete walls.
    Despite being meticulously maintained, bits of unruly vegetation find their way onto the house’s pristine concrete walls.
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