Architecture: House in Melides
House in Melides, Portugal by Pedro Reis:
The house in Melides, on the southern cost of Portugal, presents a reading of the natural landscape by building it on top of a steep hill relatively protected by the surrounding topography. Inhabiting this site means, founding a place by means of a strong geometric imprint, achieved by two volumes overlapping in the shape of a cross.
The design began with determining the ideal site for the house, with varied exposure to the sun, protection from the wind, and a central position in the unfolding vistas between the hills and the ocean. The rugged, undulating terrain and the programme, which proposed the construction of a house with a support area for possible future expansion, suggested dividing the dwelling into two volumes, reinforcing the initial intention of minimising the scale and presence of the construction. The lower volume, semi-interred and clad with concrete blocks fabricated in situ, merges into the land like a heavy supporting wall, allowing the upper volume to rest partially suspended above. This dialectic strategy led the design to a formal clarification, in a synthesis of two complementary forms of dwelling revealing themselves through different relationships established with the landscape. If in the lower volume, housing the support areas and bedrooms, the system of narrow openings accentuates the more intimate character of the dwelling, in the upper part, housing the main spaces, the relationship is one of total transparency and permeability, heightening the dramatic relationship with the environment. In this area the kitchen stands at the heart of the home, at once the arrival area and point of connection to the living room and garden through the long, shaded pergola on the south side.
The pool is set under the house, reflecting the surrounding pinewoods and extending into the main bedroom, thereby reinforcing the playful character of the dwelling. The experience of this house aims to concentrate on its essence, on being inside and out, on contemplating and lingering, highlighting an enjoyable sense of living.