Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Facade
© Richard John Seymour
Torres Vedras, Portugal
  • Architects: Atelier Data
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  380
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2013
  • Photographs
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers:  Focus

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - TableCasa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Fence, Facade, HandrailCasa Varatojo / Atelier Data - WindowsCasa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Image 5 of 29Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - More Images+ 24

  • Landscape Architecture: Susana Maria Rodrigues, António Bettencourt
  • Structure: Emanuel Correia
  • Architect In Charge: Filipe Vogt Rodrigues, Inês Maia Vicente, Marta Mateus Frazão
  • Design Team: Filipe Rodrigues, Inês Vicente, Marta Frazão, André Almeida, António Cotrim
  • City: Torres Vedras
  • Country: Portugal
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Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Facade
© Richard John Seymour

Text description provided by the architects. The Varatojo House is placed on a Hill, east from the city of Torres Vedras, Portugal.

Set in a polygonal configuration plot and given its sun exposure (predominantly North/South) and also its main Northern wind direction, the design strategy began by considering the following issues:

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Table
© Richard John Seymour

Promoting relationship between building and landscape, taking advantage of the place's overlooking position over the city, castle and surroundings;

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Fence, Handrail
© Richard John Seymour

 Encouraging a strong complementarity between the house and the garden in order to create an intense visual relation between the inside and the outside, between construction and natural elements;

Creating transversal relations between the North Side - (view) and the South side - (inner garden) mainly through the pool on the lower floor and modeling land of the garden;

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Fence, Facade, Handrail
© Richard John Seymour

Recycling of materials such as the walls of wooden pilings (former railway sleepers), introducing a certain experimentalism and innovation from the way the material is usually used for and thought to be;

Encouraging the use of native vegetation in the garden.

Floor Plan

Design Concept:

The house is shaped by a spiral gesture intending to take advantage of the plot outline.

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Image 15 of 29
© Richard John Seymour

We opted for the construction of a limit, a kind of line that gradually takes shape and thickness to accommodate the housing program.

This gesture starts with the ramped access to the lot and ends on the opposite side of the house, achieving at this point two-stories high, thereby the contour of the house also reinforced this "gesture in spiral".

The adopted design strategy allowed us to create a living space on the site’s south side, protected from the strong Northern winds, which forced the existence of the main construction on the north side.

Floor Plan


From a functional standpoint, the program is distributed in three floors.

The groundfloor centralizes most of the program.

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Table, Countertop, Chair, Beam
© Richard John Seymour

There is located the common areas - kitchen, living room and dining room - constrained to a single and continuous open space, enhanced by the ceilling plan. On the other hand, the rooms’ wing (with a much more restricted access) contains guest and children's rooms, separated by a playing/studying room.

Floor Plan

On the 1st floor is located the master bedroom with a deep balcony facing North, and on the South, there is a bathroom with a big window facing a small garden as its background.

Still on this floor there is a library, a mezzanine space over the living space.

On the lower floor the pool is the central space through where it is possible to connect with both north sights and south private garden, and also to enjoy the reflected landscape on the water.

Material Options:

On one hand we opted for the use of traditional materials and coatings, as exemplified by the cementitious materials, plaster, timber and cork, and, on the other hand, we considered the reuse of railway sleepers within a distinct logic of its conventional use introducing some innovation and experimentation in the search for new possibilities of materials’ use.

Thus we suggest new interpretations from the current and traditional construction, through design but also through material options.

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Facade
© Richard John Seymour

Vegetation: Elasticity and Plasticity

Define a grove of Quercus faginea subssp. broteroi (Portuguese oak), seeded the phytogeographic association where the plot is located. The dominant choice of native vegetation for the garden (trees, shrubs and herbaceous) takes advantage of site soil and climate characteristics, creating an ecological system integrated into the Landscape of the Region (Genius loci).

Site Plan

On the North hillside, a Kermes oak shrubland, appear in a limestone substrate. Exposed to the wind, the Kermes oak shrubland have as main actors the Quercus coccifera and mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) that associates with various species such as: the Mediterranean buckthorn (Rhamnus alaternus); the Flax-leaved Daphne (Daphne gnidium); the Sage-leaved Rock Rose (Cistus salvifolius); the Lusitanian gorse (Ulex densus); the Rough bindweed (Smilax aspera) and the Etruscan honeysuckle (Lonicera etrusca). On the sheltered South side, arises the Portuguese oak with arborescent shrubs like Laurustinus (Viburnum tinus); the single-seed Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna); the Laurel (Laurus nobilis) and herbaceous like Bear`s breeches (Acanthus mollis) and yellow irises (Iris pseudacorus).

Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data - Facade, Garden
© Richard John Seymour

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About this office
Cite: "Casa Varatojo / Atelier Data" 02 Jun 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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