Portugal has a rich cache of contemporary architecture peppering its extraordinary scenery. Architects like Manuel Aires Mateus and Eduardo Souto de Moura are rethinking local building traditions to create striking villas embedded in the landscape.
A semi-enclosed courtyard swimming pool is the focal point at this Portuguese holiday home by architect Pedro Domingo, which sits on ruins near Agostos. The four-bedroom holiday villa was built using local materials, and interiors are minimalism at its most extreme. Clean lines, white walls and concrete floors act as a framework for spartan wooden furniture.
It might be in the bustling city centre, but Santa Clara 1728 is all about turning-off and enjoying a taste of slow living. Owner João Rodrigues tapped architect Manuel Aires Mateus to transform a historic townhouse into a contemporary boutique hotel (also available to rent in its entirety). All-white interiors are finished with smooth surfaces and curated design pieces by the likes of Carl Hansen and B&B Italia. See more.
Art meets architecture at Melides, a contemporary sculpture park in the Alentejo coastal region dotted with architect-designed bungalows that hug the landscape. Practice Esteva i Esteva designed this bolthole, which has a vast swimming pool and shaded sun terraces for enjoying the rugged terrain, dotted with artworks and installations.
Concrete and glass reign at Casa Da Varzea by architect Pedro Ferreira Pinto – a large modernist villa with towering ceilings and large steel-framed window panes. Voluminous, white-washed rooms open up onto the Comporta property’s rural 50-acre woodland setting. It sleeps groups of up to 16.
Long before millennials were co-opting pink as their shade de rigueur, the Portuguese were dousing their houses in colour to keep them cool. Pink House on the island of São Miguel, in the Azores, pays homage to this tradition, reviving a dilapidated stone farmhouse as a contemporary island retreat, complete with rosy rendered walls.
Mezzo Atelier refashioned the ailing structure, patching its facade and introducing new windows to its facade. Living spaces on the upper level open out onto a large terrace with views across the garden, and Pink House sits on five acres of orchards and woodland – including a private pool. It sleeps up to five people.
This concrete country home may look modern, but architect Manuel Aires Mateus took cues from the traditional countryside architecture of Alentejo for the compound’s design. Interiors have vintage and contemporary furniture, and there’s room for eight guests across the Portuguese property’s three independent bungalows – each of which has its own terrace. The modern holiday home sits at the edge of a chain of hills about an hour’s drive south of Lisbon.
Set back from the busy streets of Lisbon, the solid concrete exterior of this brutalist bolthole by Bak Gordon belies its welcoming interior. No less than five courtyards offer space to soak up the sun, while pools and ponds dotted about the four-bedroom Portuguese villa are on hand for cooling off.
Casa no Tempo is another bold piece of design from Manuel Aires Mateus, who has turned a crumbling ruin into a sleek four-bedroom holiday home. Its simple form, capped by a gabled roof, is a minimal intervention into the landscape, comprising 400 hectares of rambling pastures, lakes, olive trees and cork groves.
Less is more in this revived townhouse in Porto’s art district, which has been carefully restored by collective Departamento Arquitectura. Many of its 19th-century features have been retained and paired with modern, minimalist interiors including custom furniture, patterned tiles and tall beamed ceilings. Out back there’s a sun-soaked garden, while the top floor apartment has a deck overlooking the city’s rooftops.
Not far from the coast, this 19th-century Porto abode has been refurbished and expanded by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. The property’s minimal stone and wood interiors offer respite from the city’s winding streets while two interior gardens are ideal spots for relaxing with a book in hand. Casa 1015 sleeps up to six.
Trees rise from the courtyard of this low-slung Portuguese holiday home, hidden in the pine forest of Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, a 30-minute drive from Lisbon. Designed by local architect Frederico Valsassina, Casa da Rampa is composed of interlocking spaces that open onto the landscape. These minimalist white boxes – sleeping eight people – are dotted with contemporary design classics.
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