Architects: João Cassiano Santos
Location: Vila Verde de Ficalho, Serpa, Portugal
Structure: Fernando Rodrigues
Engineers: Paulo Rodrigues e José Andrade
Project Area: 384 sqm
Project Year: 2009-2010
Photographs: Miguel Coelho
The surrounding atmosphere is not the gentle countryside, but the bush, dense of rockroses and sparse cork trees. The white house on top of the hill is an opposition to such harsh atmosphere, on a dominating attitude, just like the traditional archetypal “monte alentejano”.
The living room exposes North and South glass transparency hidden in the shadow, sheltered East and West by two volumes, opaque white buttresses that enclose the kitchen to the sunrise and rooms to the sunset.
To synthetically define the action on this territory, and the concept of the project, we would speak of the “void” between the two massive wings (East, West), the living room on central axis, a comfortable square space with two opposed fireplaces, where the landscape comes in, framed by the white walls.
The room’s wing is the dominating prism opposed to the aridity of the ground and the vastness of the landscape. On the first floor, only one room, the absolute refuge inside the shelter is the bedroom with a view over Spanish hills. The H shape plan reflects day and night uses, with the square living as “go between”.
The whole composition is based on the dialectics of pairs; two buttressed wings, two chimneys, two patios (North and South), two windows.
The volume white massive expression is hardened by the window openings, used recessed or outwards projected off, to guarantee throughout the day, evolving black shadows on white surfaces, the metaphor of the Mediterranean.