House in Melides / Pedro Reis

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Architect: Pedro Reis
Location: Melides, Grândola, Portugal
Collaborators: Isabel Silvestre, Tiago Tomás
Landscape: Global2 – Inês Norton
Structure: ARA – Alves Rodrigues & Associados, Lda
HVAC: ACRIBIA – Projectos e Desenho Técnico, Lda
Electricity, telecommunications and security: ACRIBIA: Projectos e Desenho Técnico, Lda
Hydraulic: ACRIBIA – Projectos e Desenho Técnico, Lda
Project Area: 344 sqm
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

level 00 plan
level 01 plan

The house in Melides, on the southern Alentejo Coast, by , represents the desire for a holiday house as a getaway from the bustle of a big city. The client made the unusual decision to have an architectural competition between three distinct ateliers, allowing a choice from a wider range of possible solutions. This winning proposal presents a reading of the “drama” of the natural countryside, building it on top of a steep hill relatively protected by the surrounding “rugged topography”.

© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra
© FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Inhabiting this site means “founding a place” by means of a “strong geometric imprint”, achieved by two volumes overlapping in the shape of a “cross”. The aim of this dialectic strategy is not just to reduce the “scale and presence” of the construction, but also to “split” the programme into two areas, one more “exuberant” and exposed and the other more “intimate” and contained. If the light upper volume recalls the synthetic image of the modern house, with large glass areas open to the scenic countryside, the “anchored” lower volume, clad with sheets of earth-coloured , pre-fabricated in situ, sits on the ground, giving support and stability to the house. In terms of programmatic organisation, the “suspended” upper volume concentrates the main spaces, defining the “minimum housing unit”, while the lower volume acts as an “expansion zone”, hosting more intimate areas or service areas, allowing increased occupation. The kitchen, as the centre of the home, takes on paramount importance here, acting as the crossing-point for all movements: entering, going through the inside and moving out into the garden, with the long pergola providing shade and a water tank reflecting the pine trees, set under the house into the main bedroom. The experience of this house aims to concentrate on its essence, on being inside and out, on contemplating and lingering, highlighting a enjoyable sense of living, close to the amenities of urban life.

Cite: "House in Melides / Pedro Reis" 29 Jun 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down -2

    Yeah it looks kinda pretty, but have we not seen this a zillion times before? Any minimalist architect can design a house like this in about 20 minutes… How about something new? Of course that a bit more difficult, and takes more time!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    A lot of efforts put in the details, less in the architecture. It’s a cliché of those attractive contemporary houses, like the ones you find in “architecture for dummies” magazines.
    50 stairs, 4 out of 5 bedrooms built in a garage, a huge and useless terrace you can’t access…
    Oh ! one great thing: the photographs.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Strong concept.
    Integrated cross resulted in one volume that rises from the earth (service areas) and the other that falls from the sky (the main house).
    Also a magic swimming pool.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      quiro hacer una casa como esta que opinan
      me agrada mucho la sensación de limpieza y amplitud que puede obtenerse con este concepto

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      Excellent observation neringa! The roof does indeed look very tricky – the material wraps up over the edges without any seams.

      It reminds me of J. Mayer H. – look at his Mensa project on his website. I saw a lecture by him a few years ago and he was using a new, expensive product that allowed him to coat the whole building in a waterproof layer without looking for a roof connection detail. He mentioned that the final photos looked like renders because of this…

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Não é preciso grandes Curvas , ou geometrias para se fazer arquitectura, a ideia de se querer criar grandes obras, com todos os materiais e técnicas construtivas existentes no mercado só faz que com o passar do tempo se tornem em “Mausoléus” descontextualizados, em regra geral a beleza está na simplicidade do “todo”, complexidade e qualidade de pormenores que por vezes não estão visíveis no 1º contacto e materiais .

    Gostei Muito.


  5. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    If you can’t see the innovations in this house then you need to go back to architecture school – a good one.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    The criticism of this house in previous comments seems based on not entertaining it’s internet audience, rather than whether it fulfils it’s brief of being architecture or not.

    I think too much architecture is being specifically designed for publicity, and so in that sense this house is refreshing. It’s humble, it’s a city retreat.

    Creativity is not just form making, in this case it’s melting the complexities of site, client, brief into a simple and sensible programme. I think it achieves that very well.

  7. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    i aggree: it’s boring. it says a lot when the landscape is more eye-grabbing.

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    if you want to see different and new shapes you can
    always turn the windows screensaver on.

  9. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    This project competes with Marcio Kogan’s design. Being a great fan of Marcio’s houses, I must admit this house takes simplicity/complexity to the limits. Well done.

  10. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    The cut in the landscape. The material of the basement and the pool with connection to the bathroom. The movement inside the house.
    Just perfekt!

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