By CORREIA/RAGAZZI Arquitectos of Portugal
Set in the glorious natural surroundings, of the Cavado river, this house is an intelligent reconstruction of an existing ruined building using the minimalist style of architecture. Starkly modern in contrast to the forest and river that surround it, this is a confident example of extreme minimalist house design.
In many ways the exterior of this minimalist house design is deliberately unremarkable, it is completely unadorned and formed like an elongated box. The size and format of the house were constrained by the ‘footprint’ of the existing ruined building and strict building regulations. The most dramatic aspect of this property is its cantilevered construction. This allows the upper story of the house to remain suspended ‘weightlessly’ above the steep slope down to the river.
The simplicity of the minimalist style of architecture has helped the architects to unite the architecture with its surroundings. The modest form of this weekend retreat appears secondary to the magnificence of nature .To minimize the house becoming overly dominant, within this protected natural beauty spot, the scale had been cleverly diminished with the way it has been built into the hillside. The only really prominent aspect of this minimalist house design is the suspended upper living storey. The architects commented on this saying:
“Since the first visit of the site it was clear we were dealing with a delicate project. The project placement on the plot was essential given that the surroundings were the main reference for the construction”
The minimalist style of architecture was selected for this project when the primary objective of this project became evident. That was to provide a fabulously located and comfortable country retreat for a family who want to experience and enjoy nature at the closest proximity. Keen on water sports the family wanted easy access to the river. The architects have fully understood the importance of bringing the outside views ‘into’ the house so it is built like a viewing platform or a bridge between the occupants inside and the spectacular scenery outside. The minimalist house design in this case becomes a conduit for the enjoyment of nature. The external appearance of the house is secondary to this fundamental function.