06/12/2020

Kakiq

Giving your Home a new Option

Casa Povo by Contaminar Arquitetos

Inspired by the limestone caves of central Portugal, Leiria-based Contaminar Arquitetos has crafted Casa Povo, a unique three-bedroom, two-bath home that more strongly resembles the rocky terroir than its traditional brick neighbors.

To reduce site impact, Contaminar Arquitetos adapted the design to the existing sloped terrain.

Since the south side of the home faces a public road, the architects minimized openings for privacy. The entrance on the right is used by the family and leads directly to the living room. The entrance on the left side leads to the roof.

Built entirely of concrete with a jagged, asymmetrical form, Casa Povo was conceived in the likeness of a cave. “It’s an austere, carved, and denticulated refuge that is humanized by its occupants,” explain the architects. “This premise is a look and a tribute to the beginnings of humanity and its symbiotic relationship with the environment it inhabits; it contains in itself the paradox of the perennial and harsh stones that become a natural and maternal refuge.”

To strengthen Casa Povo’s ties to the terrain, the architects allowed the sloped site to inform its massing, which comprises two and a half levels that step downward from south to north. Floor-to-ceiling glazing as well as a south-facing courtyard blur the boundary between indoors and out.

Oriented toward the south for natural light and warmth, the sloped courtyard is adapted to the irregular terrain.

The interior courtyard was constructed with artificial turf and built around an existing Italian stone pine tree.

All three bedrooms open up to the outdoor courtyard.

A sloped hallway connects the three bedrooms that step down in height from south to north.

Designing a place for the family to live was only part of the brief. The clients, one of whom is a music teacher, also asked for an office and piano room where they could receive clientele and students. In addition to the family’s private entrance on the southeast side of the home, the architects created two secondary entrances—one on the southwest side and the other on the north—to give visitors direct access to the office/music room without going through the house.

“Casa Povo respects and adapts the cut of the land in relation to its original layout, and differentiates itself in a subtle and delicate way to maintain a harmonious relationship between the public and the private,” say the architects.

The minimalist, light-filled interior was designed as the “humanization of the cave,” say the architects.

Steps from the living room lead to an office and music room.

The sleek kitchen is separated from the living area and dining room. A glass sliding door on the south side connects the kitchen to an outdoor dining and cooking area with wood-burning brick ovens.

Imagined as a promontory, the home also takes advantage of its elevated views. Deep roof overhangs provide shade to the northwest-facing concrete terraces that look toward stunning sunsets. The upper terrace also connects to the roof to provide panoramic vistas overlooking the town.

The living room opens up to an outdoor balcony with spectacular sunset views.

A nook carved out on the west side of the terrace was inspired by a visit to nearby caves. “We saw that erosion in some of the caves created chaise lounges, and we brought those elements into the design of the house,” explain the architects.

A top-down view of the balcony shows the nook on the west end nearest the kitchen, a flight of stairs that leads to the upper office/music room, and a third flight of stairs that leads to the roof.

Accessible from the north and south sides, the roof provides panoramic views of the town.

Located on the outskirts of Leiria, Portugal, Casa Povo shares greater similarities with the rocky landscape than its more traditional gabled neighbors.

“The need to connect spaces creates a strong narrative of spatial distribution while guiding the rhythm and composition of the shape of the architectural object,” explain the architects. “The exposed concrete with wooden slatted formwork dates back to a density that follows a monolithic volumetric and creates the protection that inspires it: a humanized cave.” 

Casa Povo first floor plan

Casa Povo ground floor plan

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