Holiday Home in Esposende by Atelierdacosta

Located in the Portuguese town of Esposende, this modern two-story holiday house has been designed in 2019 by Atelierdacosta.

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The house could have two floors to free up as much land as possible and should be very simple for different “constructions” to converge in its assembly. A square plan was then designed, 10×10 m, taking advantage of all the quadrants of the surrounding landscape, whether for its solar orientation, or, for example, for the greater vastness of the woods to disappear from view to the north. This square clung, through a small porch for a car, to the only straight boundary wall of the land and the only one facing a neighbour, to the west, which has the exact North-South orientation. Unlike so many other holiday homes, hostile to the permanent neighborhood, there shall exist a previous acquaintance between neighbours. The square is placed at the same lateral distance from the wall as the neighbour’s house and will only move in the opposite direction, on a North-South axis, creating a large leisure space to the south, while the neighbouring house rests as close to the road as possible, opening up all the space to the north for the optimisation of agricultural production. The soils drained badly and the land would flood several times a year; the foundations should be made in concrete and, in the meantime, the
structural carpenter had to be found and the study of the woods, worthy of a special attention in the project, should be deepened.

The entire ground floor with a solid perimeter was saved for the social space, which should also be exterior: the durable concrete of the foundation was made from the “social cement”, framed by wooden boards of 12 cm. The basis of the necessary foundations rises up to the height of the fence in the exterior. Only one layer of social space could ever take precedence over this one: the truly ephemeral and circumstantial of the overnight spaces, upon the heavy square of the house, made in wood, also in boards of 12 cm. The boards of the foundation are placed horizontally, following the direction of its construction process, concreted from top to bottom, like a viscous liquid that accumulates and fills the formwork and crystallizes so that it does not leave no more. On the other hand, the upper floor wood boards are placed vertically, helping to assemble the material which, unlike concrete, the worker applies the scaffold, from left to right, from north to south.

The ground floor houses the production/service spaces of the kitchen, the laundry and the bathroom, and all the other spaces which, through the placement of a concrete pillar, can be organized: to the south, an extended interior solarium on an outdoor terrace, through a wide and protected threshold; to the north, on the contrary, a living area and a dining room through the projection of a bow window. Childhood sees its desire for protected extension to the outside world come true, by permanently finding this earthy calling coming from the opening of this long panel of windows. Thanks to the depth and design of the threshold/porch, the opening of 8 meters of glass also allows us to not feel the uncomfortable wind while inside. The wind can become quite disturbing considering the typical weather in Gemeses and this particular location.

Between the depth of the threshold to the south and the bow window filigree to the north, there is the access staircase to the upper floor to the east, projected over the land as well. On the upper floor, two of the three bedrooms are for children or guests; they share a bathroom and a balcony to the south. The access space to the bedrooms, accessible through the stairs, is a corridor that tears the building from the east to the west, as opposed to the South/North rip of the ground floor, and it is intentionally oversized in order to be used as a leisure space or a place where you can work more intimately, as a way of solving the excessive collectivisation of the ground floor and for not wanting to build a space specifically for that.

Photography courtesy of Atelierdacosta

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- by Matt Watts