Inhabited since prehistoric ages due to its privileged and strategic location, Palmela presents today as the result of the influence of the different cultures that successively inhabited the area in the past. The presence of the medieval castle on the landscape is evident. This mix of influences becomes a dual relationship especially on clear days, when from the castle the landscape opens up to Lisbon.
In addition to this strong historical identity, the territory integrates two of the most important protected areas in Portugal: the Arrábida Natural Park and the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve. History and landscape merge in one place.
In the heart of this small village, a void is subjected to the presence of the castle and the surrounding landscape: the Barris Valley. Thus arises a new volume, firmly anchored to the ground, which consists of a concrete monolith, with simple lines, that relates to the massive figure of the castle and, at the same time, to the geometry of the articulated roofs of the surroundings. This construction defines the limit of the facade of the Boa Vista Square, strengthening its structure.
The surfaces and materials reveal the construction process of the building (like the castle itself), establishing not only the geometric relationship with the environment but also the chromatic relationship through the use of ochre pigment added to concrete (the tone present on the roofs and facades that make the urban landscape of Palmela). The wooden panels used for concrete casting imprint their texture to the continuous surface of the exterior facades, giving them a natural pine vein relief. After cleaning and planing, these panels were recovered and reused on the inner floors, walls, and furniture, establishing the same rhythm inside and outside of the house.
The spatial organization is divided by three levels, distributed via a wooden staircase. On the ground floor, an open space lower than the road level constitutes an access lobby, characterized by natural light. The more private areas of the house are located on the first floor, organized along a patio situated on one side of the lot that ensures optimal illumination and ventilation conditions.
The second floor aggregates the areas designated to the social life of the house, where the openings were designed to capture different landscapes, with different scales, at different times of the day. From the study area of the room that faces the Boa Vista Square it’s possible to track its daily movement fluxes; at noon, the opening of the dining room frames a static image of the castle and, at sunset, the opening of the living room encloses the extensive verdant vineyards of the Barris Valley landscape.