A dramatic arch welcomes visitors to Casa no Tempo, a modern retreat in Portugal’s Alentejo region.
Brothers João and Andreia Rodrigues – charged with renovating a tumbledown family farm by the grandfather – wanted to create something that would last into the next generation. Enlisting the help of architect Manuel Aires Mateus, they have transformed a crumbling ruin into a sleek four-bedroom abode that fits elegantly into the surrounding landscape.
‘Our main concern was to have the house open to the vastness of the property and welcome nature’s gifts through the large windows of every room,’ the brothers explain. With this in mind, Aires Mateus has created a simple, minimal intervention into the landscape: a low slung rectangular structure with a gable roof, painted white inside and out.
Casa no Tempo has no embellishments on its exterior walls, which are relieved only by the dramatic swoop of the arched doorway, and the windows set back into the walls.
Inside the holiday home, there are four bedroom suites, a lounge and a large kitchen/diner. Decoration is minimal – mirrors lean against walls, while wooden accents are found in the kitchen cupboards, side tables and the large dining table. The floor is made of clay bricks, which are heated during the winter,
There is no question that the setting is the star of this show. Casa no Tempo is positioned in 400 hectares of rambling pastures, lakes, olive trees and cork groves, with fantastic views across the Alentejo region. There is still a bit of work to be done to the property, with Aires Mateus planning to create a ‘labyrinth-like’ walled garden in future.
Casa no Tempo is available to rent year round and there are activities for all comers. Horses await in the surrounding paddocks, there’s swimming pool conceived as a beach – complete with a dramatic winged shoreline – and the house is a short drive away from the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Arraiolos and Évora.
This is the second collaboration between the Rodrigues brothers and Aires Mateus, following on from Cabanas no Rio, a pair of riverfront fishing huts which the trio transformed in 2013 using only reclaimed timber.