Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati added concrete fins to the walls of this house in Alentejo, about 10 km inland from the Atlantic Ocean, which splay outwards and inwards like the flaps of an open box to provide shade for a garden within. The rural region in central Portugal is renowned for its vineyards, as well as the cork forests used to supply bottle stops for their produce.
Villa Alé m technical information
- Architects: Valerio Olgiati
- Location: Alentejo, 3400, Portugal
- Collaborators: Patricia Da Silva (project manager office Olgiati), Daisuke Kokufuda, Liviu Vasiu
- General Contractor: Matriz Sociedade de Construções Lda.
- Project Year: 2014
- Photographs: © Archive Olgiati
The character of the complex is chiefly defined by the surrounding walls, which create the impression of petals that close and open towards the sky.
– Valerio Olgiati
From Valerio Olgiati Architects
This project is located in Alentejo about 10 km inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The area features a hilly, rural landscape and is covered with beautiful old cork oaks.
The 5.5-metre-high walls were constructed from a red cast-in-situ concrete designed to harmonise with the colour of the rusty earth and to conceal the single-storey dwelling within, making it invisible from outside the compound.
The climate is mild and dry. The primary intention here is to create a secluded garden. The surrounding walls are up to five and a half meters high to provide the necessary shade and the entire impression created is one of a desert, dry, stony and dusty. Everything is constructed from slightly reddish, in situ concrete.
The character of the complex is chiefly defined by the surrounding walls, which create the impression of petals that close and open towards the sky. The dwelling itself is invisible and develops across a single floor behind the surrounding walls.
The living room is located at the end of a strict axis leading from north to south. It overlooks the pool and offers a view through the southern door in the garden wall across a flat and empty landscape. A curved hallway allows the inhabitants to retreat into shadows and into the introverted private rooms.