House in Matinhal / ARX

Architects: ARX PORTUGAL - José Mateus y Nuno Mateus
Location: Martinhal,
Project year: 2002-2003
Construction year: 2005-2007
Constructed area: 320 sqm
Structure: SAFRE, Estudos e Projectos de Engenharia Lda.
Photographs: FG + SG - Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra


This house is located in Sagres (Algarve), the furthest southwest location in Portugal.

This town hosted the Navigation School behind the “Portuguese Discoveries”, established in the 15th century by the infant D. Henrique.

Five centuries have gone by and nowadays these waters are famous for windsurfing.

Land is being split in generic parcels of typical resorts, claiming for a superficial architectural idea of a “Portuguese house”, to please and sell to foreign tourists. The house was developed along the precise regulations, defined in the urbanistic project, from distances to borders, access and total amount of construction area and volume.

The highest and longest volume is located in the north to create an protect a central patio from the strong and permanent winds. An “L” shaped bedroom wing helps creating privacy from the access road into the pool. Inside and outside spaces are always articulated by courtyards, a typology from the Moorish legacy, while filtering views to selected fragments of untouched landscape.

The house is white and the roofs are flat, as they where often built in traditional architecture in this area, for drying fruits an fish, leaving us a particular architectural heritage that touristic resorts seem to have forgotten.

Cite: "House in Matinhal / ARX" 20 Jan 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Apr 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=11490>

15 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    i just love simple, detail-hidden, white architecture. I am glad to see that there are still good architects to remind us that arhcitecture is worth practising!! beautiful example!!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    A brilliant piece from a great practice! I’m very pleased to see how they oppose to the dominant pseudo-traditional, superficial-touristic architecture commonly found in the southern shores of Europe these days. And FG+SG photographers are, perhaps, among the very best architectural photographers in the world. Portuguese sunshine does often produce jewels.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    Well…the new Pop Stars of portuguese architecture.. Now everybody talk about them!!
    Anything is really new, everything they does we see here or there, i don’t know why they are so mediatic, when they are – for me – just regular, they don’t go further…Once (when I was young) I see thoose and other projects, specially Ilhavo Library, and start to be happy, they seem to be different and got quality (for a Portuguese context), work with eisenman..Mmm Sounds great..One day, i go to the library, maybe because the sky is not Photoshop blue, i see the reality. The materials are poor(not cheap), all combined…ugly, not enough contemporary, not with purity in the detail,…and the eisenman touch (the idea of the diagrams in the facade, and waiting something else in the inside) seems to be a employer mistake..The desilusion was almost complete. I Like the light in the roof who shine the entry, and the relation with the environment, that idea..but nothing to take your breathe. I would say they are just the most known who are going away from Siza, but the “divine” influence still is very present, and the better things of they does, seems to be a class of Siza…and I’m not a Siza Supporter!!

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Mike, I believe you’re commenting on the wrong project. You can find an Ilhavo Library post here on ArchDaily. Still, Probably you were unfortunate enough to be there on a not so sunshiny day, and didn’t like it… I can’t blame you, I’ve been there as well and it isn’t perfect, especially on some of the materials. But I guess we can do nothing but to be desillusioned if we have such a personal notion of what’s “contemporary”, and if what we’re looking for here is Eisenman’s influence (why not Libeskind’s, by the way?) Besides, the building was only completed in 2005, so don’t worry about your age, I’m sure you’re not so old now.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    mike: the photography undoubtedly heightens the supposed impact of this architecture. much has been written on the same sort of effect that emilio ambasz had on the reception of barragan’s work.

    unlike you, i’m a big fan of siza’s early work, and see a lot of his ideas at play in the program layout. siza’s contemporary work seems to have influenced the interior detailing, as well.

    in spite of its possible shortcomings, this is one sexy, crisp residential design, conceived with the sort of mediterranean restraint that spaniards and portuguese totally have down cold.

    and, yes, kanye will surely feature this on his blog at some point. it’s too slick for him to overlook.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Google Le Corbusier’s “Maison Citrohan” project. This isn’t “Portugese” any more than the pizza hut down the road. These forms were being proposed in 1922!

  7. Thumb up Thumb down -1

    Shot through the heart/and your too late/you’re giving “Portuguese architecture” a bad name,bad name…lol this guys are very weak indeed…they are a disgrace in their attempt to copy Siza. Mike is right one of the mateus brothers did work in eiseman’s office…but then again…eiseman?another architect full inflated rethoric…We need to creat a kind of Sex Pistols architecture office…nevermind the bollocks here is architecture…go see zumthor or aires mateus or barrozi veiga or herzog and meuron(despite some weaker projects, but then again their all human with the exception of zumthor).

  8. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    nice house, not too good to walk on white I agree, and not too cool to partially block the sunset to the pool, put in on the south side of the house, overflowing towards the access ramp and you’re set.

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