Casa M stands in the picturesque Algarve region of Portugal, known for its stunning coastline and charming villages – a remarkable example of sustainable residential architecture. Designed by A-lab Architects, this house is not just a dwelling but a testament to the seamless blend of traditional principles and contemporary aesthetics.
Casa M Technical Information
- Architects: A-lab Architects
- Location: Algarve, Portugal
- Topics: White in Architecture
- Area: 290 m2
- Completion Year: 2023
- Photographs: © Alexander Bogorodskiy
Casa M prioritizes a sustainable design by integrating both passive and active systems, optimizing light, shade, and natural ventilation to significantly reduce energy consumption, eliminating the need for air conditioning.
– A-lab Architects
Casa M Photographs
Sustainable Architecture in Portugal’s Algarve
Casa M is situated on a village hill in the Algarve, a region blessed with over 300 sunny days a year but also characterized by hot summers, humid winters, and a steady Atlantic breeze. This unique climate posed a significant challenge for A-lab Architects, one they met with creative and eco-efficient solutions.
Sustainability at the Forefront
The house, which covers 290 square meters, is deeply committed to sustainability. This is evident in its design, which integrates passive and active systems. These systems are meticulously crafted to optimize light, shade, and natural ventilation, significantly reducing energy consumption. This design eliminates the need for air conditioning – a remarkable achievement given the local climate.
The heart of Casa M’s eco-efficiency lies in its interior courtyard. This space is not just an aesthetic element but a functional one, facilitating natural lighting and ventilation through the property’s 19-meter depth. The innovative “stack” effect, created by the stairs and ventilated skylight, allows the sea breeze to flow from the lower levels to the upper skylight, promoting natural ventilation across the house. In summer, the solar gains from the skylight are moderated with exterior shading, while in winter, they contribute to passive solar gains.
A Harmony of Space and Material
Casa M’s design philosophy extends beyond environmental considerations, focusing also on spatial coherence and living quality. The house embraces outdoor living, with special attention to views from the kitchen and gathering areas. The central role of the kitchen, extending into the dining table and veranda lounge, exemplifies this concept.
The uninterrupted terrazzo floor that runs from the parking area to the terrace further accentuates the spatial continuity. This design choice unifies the space and contributes to the house’s aesthetic appeal. The dense fabric curtains interspersed throughout the house provide a soft contrast to the mineral elements of the construction materials, enhancing acoustic comfort and adding fluidity to the spaces.
Architectural Integration and Articulation
Casa M stands as a modern interpretation of traditional townhouses, optimizing its space across half-floors to harmonize with neighboring volumes. Its quiet white facade is a canvas reflecting changes in nature and weather, achieved through a mix of smooth and textured surfaces, mass, and voids. The strategic use of perforated gates and breeze blocks creates a dynamic interplay of light and shadow.
Casa M Plans
Casa M Image Gallery
About A-lab Architects
A-lab Architects, co-founded by Odd Klev and Geir Haaversen, has a dynamic team of 130 professionals from 20 different nations. A-lab operates like a laboratory, constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional architectural design. The firm is structured into specialized ‘labs’ that focus on diverse areas such as commercial buildings, urban planning, housing, and sustainability. Emphasizing the importance of community living and social dynamics in urban spaces, A-lab fosters an inclusive environment where a free flow of ideas and a deep understanding of social dynamics guide their visionary projects. This approach ensures that each project uniquely blends creativity, functionality, and sustainable design. A-lab Portugal was founded in 2017, in Alvor (Algarve).