House of Four Houses

Porto District, Portugal
Location
  • Porto District, Portugal
  • Year
  • 2014
  • This project page was created by community member Laura C. Mallonee

    PROD Architecture + Design struck a balance between traditional and modern with its latest project. Conflicting desires are a hallmark of many architectural projects, and it’s often what makes them interesting. PROD Architecture + Design’s clients wanted a farmhouse in Penafiel, Portugal, that blended in with the region’s more traditional homes but also had modern, floor-to-ceiling windows that responded to the environment. “The balance between these two conditions was the problem we proposed to solve,” architect Paulo Lago de Carvalho explains. “That's when fragmentation became clear as the right strategy.”

    Four distinct structures make up the house. Their design echoes the shape of an older, gabled-roof building already on site. “We considered the neighboring construction quite interesting in terms of scale and layout,” de Carvalho says. “Due to the proximity, we felt the necessity to integrate it in the design.”

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    The architect chose granite for the house’s base, zinc for its roof, and Scandinavian pinewood for cladding—all materials that complement the nearby gray stone building.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    The main entrance is on the house’s south side. It leads to a central hall from which all sections of the home are accessible.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    The connecting area between the four houses has an open joisted pine ceiling that offers a masterful transition between the coarse, weathered exterior and the polished rooms—all lined with smooth Sucupira wood and white plaster board. “We wanted to make a clear contrast between the interior surfaces of the house and the corresponding exterior surfaces,” de Carvalho says.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    In the living room, a central hanging fireplace offers warmth and ambience without blocking the view to the valley outside. “In certain autumn or spring nights, the clients may appreciate it on the outside with the windows open,” de Carvalho says.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    The bedrooms are located on the more sheltered east side. They function as private, closed boxes, as opposed to the more open living room and dining areas.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    The bathrooms are lined in luxurious Estremoz marble.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee

    Seen from a distance, the farmhouse has a time-honored quality, though it’s still clearly a product of the 21st century.

    Photo Courtesy of Laura C. Mallonee
    Posted By
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    Laura C. Mallonee
    @laura_c_mallonee
    Laura C. Mallonee is a New York-based writer. Her articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review.
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