A Portuguese summer home exemplifies adaptive reuse and the romance of an untamed coast.
“The balance of man and nature is still something very powerful on this island.” Architects Ines Vieira da Silva and Miguel Vieira speak in reverent tones about Pico Island, where a long-in-the-works summer home designed by their firm, SAMI-arquitectos, was finished after eight years of work. Since Portuguese settlers arrived in the 15th century and set down roots on the island’s volcanic soil, the small outcropping in the Azores has been a place where “people had to have the strength to transform a very adverse context in order to survive,” Vieira da Silva says. That romance with the windswept coast, and the contrasting elements of sea, sky, and stone, could just as easily be applied to the E/C House, a low-slung escape set inside a stone shell that was made from the remains of an 18th-century coastal farmhouse. Dwell spoke to Vieira da Silva about the roughhewn structure.