House in Gerês / Graça Correia y Roberto Ragazzi

Architects: Graça Correia e Roberto Ragazzi
Location: Caniçada, Vieira do Minho,
Site Area: 2000 sqm
Constructed Area: 150 sqm
Client: João Telmo Monteiro P. Ferreira
Collaborators: Ana Neto Vieira, Susana Silva, Telmo Gomes, Katharina Wiederman, Pedro Gama
Structure: GOP
Hydraulic Services: GOP
Electric Services: Raul Serafim & Associados
Coordination and supervision: Graça Correia e Roberto Ragazzi
Contractor: Almeidas & Magalhães, Lda
Project year: 2003
End of construction: 2006
Photographs: Alberto Placido (AP), Juan Rodrigues (JR) & Luis Ferreira Alves (LFA)

house + ruins

The project of this house foresees both to reconstruct and augment a ruin into a weekend retreat at a plot with extraordinary morphological characteristics, within Cavado River and its tributary. The plot, of 4.060m2, is located in a protected natural area and has for conditions a construction and the preservation of all trees. The constructive capacity was given by the existing ruin.

Since the first visit of the site it was clear we were dealing with a delicate project. The project placement on the plot was essential given that the surroundings were the main reference for the construction.

Having practiced water-ski for 20 years, the river grounds the weekend house for the clients. For them, the exceptional outlook one enjoys should be an element of the house; for us, architects, should be an evident inside space value, but also, the opposite concern was relevant – the house could only act as a significant element on the landscape.


Having identified the site, a pragmatic analyse of the circumstances was in order: the demands of the program were a house for a couple and child, a visitor’s suit preferably dislocated from the house as also should be the storehouse for the water-ski activities holding a shower, bathroom and storage area.
The area of the house, inevitably small, was specified by the reduced dimension of the pre-existent ruin. Thus, the first sketches of the solution appear in its dependence… Meanwhile, the fundamental decision revealed itself through the house orientation. Its final location on site, at right angles to the slop seeks for a better relation with the plot and the platform where it “lays”, avoiding all trees and damage to the outside area. The weightless intervention enhanced by the overhanging part that shoots off the riverbank cliff maximizes the transparent appearance from the river reducing land occupancy.

The house makes a dialectic reference to Malaparte House by Adalberto Libera and the remarkable table Less by Jean Nouvel, suggesting the constructive solution for the top of the hanging part.

As a half-buried house in its relation to the main access it appears diminished; on the other hand, from the river it appears as a glass frame dissimulated on the vegetation. The relation established by the house and ruin defines both the access and the scale of the intervention, transforming the ruin into a constant presence from the inside of the house such as any other landscape element.

The concrete plasticity in relation with the luxuriant flora was determinant, therefore the careful concrete cast drawing. This concrete volume with accessible roof was entirely covered with birch on the inside and has grey self-levelled pavement.

Cite: "House in Gerês / Graça Correia y Roberto Ragazzi" 22 May 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • Sinor Favela

    you are doing a great job with this post with lots of pictures, drawings…. much better than usual..!

  • Todd

    Beautiful house

  • JUST COOL Design Blog

    i absolutely LOVE this one! very ingenious how you configured it to such an extraordinary site. im a fan of old ruins so appreciate how the integrity and charm of the old structure was kept intact, yet still compliments the modern design of its whimsical counterpart. VERY NICE!

  • Dragana

    this is something wonderful, extrodanary house, bravoo :)

  • Pingback: Casa de astazi #23 House in Gerês « O casa pe zi

  • Nick N.

    very intersting structure.

  • rahza

    Superb! What is it in Portugal that they consistently produce such delightful work? Wonderful

    • João

      The best school of architecture in the world.
      The Faculdade de Arquitectura do Porto!

  • Opium

    I guess it’s because though it doesn’t denie inovation, it clearly see’s inovation in a critical way and has no problems in not going for the cheap form thrill.
    At this moment in time i would say with no problem that portuguese architecture stands out as one the best in world along with swiss, the dutch and japanese.

  • Jonjon

    Looks like MVRDV has just copied you! Have a look at the balancing house project…

  • Jonjon

    To say thanks you for notifying me, please contact me on

  • Pingback: House in Gerês « Contaminatedcookies Blog

  • Suri

    Looking for good online earning method ? I want to share with you my earning system, just
    type in google: Damn good earning method

  • seegiri

    really nice

  • ibrahim nas

    this looks goob but i just dont know why it extends from the land… because when you are inside you dont get any feeling that you are suspended…. itz thesame as just laying the on the ground… what do you guys think?