Beautifully bold and unapologetically daring, it comes as no surprise to learn that the ‘House in Ourem’ project belongs to architect Filipe Saraiva and his family. Inspired by the stereotypical house shape found in childhood drawings the world over, its black concrete panels and exaggerated structure stands in stark contrast to the rural Portuguese surroundings. Let’s take a closer look at this intriguing Portuguese home.
“When we ask a child, anywhere in the world to draw a house, all of them invariably present us with a simplistic representation consisting of five lines, a rectangle and two squares. Regardless of the culture … it shows that all houses have characteristics that are transversal to each one of us, because we all feel that the house is like a shelter that protects us from the world that surrounds us.”
Saraiva created the basic shape of the house by extending the pentagon form longitudinally over the land’s descending slope. At nearly 4.5m tall, the house stands proudly amid the idyllic natural landscape, straddled by a scattering of olive trees and a stretch of cantilevered stepping stones.
At the back of the home, a roofed terrace extends the living space outside. This allows the family to make the most of the scenic view which overlooks the majestic Castle of Ourem. Talk about indoor-outdoor living goals! According to Saraiva, “this connection and the flow between different spaces, in this case interior and exterior spaces, allows us to experience different sensations, even if we are only in one space, since there is a clear communication between them.”
Inside, a minimalist canvas of crisp white is punctuated with sleek mid-century modern accents. I especially love the contrast between the wood, black and neutral tones. The result is a functional yet elegant aesthetic, satisfying the demands of both style and family living.
A large steel framed window dominates the open-plan living, dining and kitchen space, flooding the room with natural light. The addition of mezzanine levels and internal glass walls help to filter this abundance of daylight into the home’s central spaces.
Upstairs contains the family’s more private living quarters. Here, the aesthetic takes on a starker, clutter-free look that is softened by the addition of neutral-toned textiles. Those of you embracing small space living, take note of how the floor-to-ceiling white works to make the space feel immediately larger.
All in all, for a house that has been inspired by child’s play, this Portuguese home is anything but juvenile. What do you think of Felipe Saraiva’s creation?