The small village of Gateira is built on a hill overlooking the southern tip of Serra da Estrela in Portugal. Vineyards, olive trees, and pines create a lush green landscape, while in the distance, blue mountains meet the sky. It’s no wonder the place made a British couple fell in love with the area. They decided to make it a second home where they could escape the busyness of London and enjoy complete silence and relaxation.
The project was entrusted to Lisbon-based Camarim Arquitectos, a studio founded in 2007. “We seek materials and spaces that produce, in addition to a visual experience, an acoustic, aromatic and tactile experience that evolves throughout the day, the seasons and life, as a living organism”, the studio says. Casa na Gateira exemplifies this goal beautifully, as it is designed to integrate into the landscape and respect the topography, molding its shape onto the land, not the other way around. The entrance lies at the top of the plot, beyond a wall designed to replicate the traditional slate architecture of the region. The interior is expansive, with open plan spaces and minimal use of furniture creating an airy and peaceful ambience. The living spaces are divided on two levels, and every room provides direct access to the outdoors. Materials are used tastefully throughout the home and the palette is kept simple, featuring gray, white, and brown tones. Industrial concrete, wooden furniture, stone flooring and walls, matte and gleaming surfaces – all create an elegant space where a distinct contemporary charm is enhanced by hints of rustic warmth. The lounge area features large glass doors overlooking the pool and the landscape beyond, linking the interior to nature. A cleverly designed patio area between the living room and the master bedroom is meant to provide thermal balance throughout the seasons by guiding the air flow from the pool towards the heart of the house. This way, the rooms cool in spring and summer yet become warmer in fall and winter. Casa na Gateira is a perfect example of architecture that respects nature’s beauty and integrity while using its features to their maximum potential. Photography by Nelson Garrido.