Villa Escarpa / Mario Martins

  • 16 Sep 2013
  • Houses Selected Works

Architects: Mario Martins
Location: , Portugal
Team: Rita Rocha, Rui Duarte, Sara Glória, Sónia Santos, Fernanda Pereira, Ana Filipa Santos
Technical Projects: Nuno Grave, Engenharia, Lda
Year: 2012
Photographs: FG+SG


From the architect. Villa Escarpa is located near the village of Praia da Luz, in the district of Lagos, Algarve, in the South of Portugal.


A condition of the planning permission was that the new house be constructed in the space occupied by a previous building. This had little architectural or technical merit, but was located in an exceptional position on an escarpment overlooking the Algarve coastline and village of Praia da Luz.


The footprint was therefore predetermined; on a very steep slope, and exposed to the prevailing winds. Paradoxically, it is these constraints and difficulties that underpin the conceptional basis of the project.


In an architectural language, pure and contemporary, we created sheltered terraces and courtyards for outside living. These are cut from the horizontal volume which is white and highly transparent. This volume gently sits upon an exposed concrete support giving the appearance of the house floating above the landscape. The touch on the environment, which we want to preserve, is minimized and resolves the difficult balance of the building with its physical support, . This ensures a desireable visual lightness.


The house merges with a long water surface which dissects the wide living and kitchen spaces. These spaces are complimented by terraces protected from the wind, but open to the sun and impressive views. This is the social area of the house; open and fluid.


Four bedrooms are located in a private area with access from a corridor that runs alongside a central courtyard. In this private courtyard the natural light is filtered, creating an intimate and desireable space.


The lower area provides garaging and technical support. The roof terrace accentuates the visual lightness of the floating building in its environment.

Cite: "Villa Escarpa / Mario Martins" 16 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • Croco Dile

    A wonderful work ! Bravo !

  • Scott Dale

    Oh look….another white box house. Haven’t seen one of those for ages.

    • Croco Dile

      No, this house is more than just a white box !
      Open your eyes, Scott !

    • Allan

      Modern style is unsuitable for quality architecture now?

  • zahra

    A super.b house…..nice view ….I LOVE IT.

  • Bombo

    It`s really wanderful house,a new white house…..

  • Yuan Zhang


  • Gonzalo

    Awesome house!…just imagine the parties you could have?!
    Even though Portuguese economy is going under, Portuguese Architecture will always prevail and show how good it is…

  • yhong

    Over the water

  • mojtaba naqdi

    it’s so great!

  • David Boole

    Beautiful. Which lucky person owns this ?