The project was developed at Povo, in the outskirts of Leiria, Portugal; an area where rocky elements, limestone lands, irregular topographies and sharp contrasts dominate the landscape. Thus arises the idea of a cave: An austere, carved and denticulated refuge that is humanized by its occupants. This premise is a tribute to the beginnings of humanity and its symbiotic relationship with the environment it inhabits; it contains in itself the paradox of the perennial and harsh stone that becomes a natural and maternal refuge.
The project is marked by a multiplicity of circuits that order spaces with harmony and simplicity through a central element: light, which interacts breaking the primitive elements and the sinuous lines with subtlety.
The program for this 3 bedroom house was divided in two and a half floors, where a patio distributes, arranges and connects both the interior spaces and the exterior paths. The main access involves the existing pine forests and frames the vegetation between its walls at sharp angles. This structure at the entrance uses a double height space of generous proportions to connect with the livingroom and to allow the view of the north / west landscape, but also provide light and heat from the south-facing patio, that is adapted to the irregularity of the terrain. From the living room there is access to a concrete balcony, a space for contemplating the sunsets.
On a different level, an external access leads to the office, distinguished by the wide glass opening. This division is half a floor above and also leads to the roof that provides a 360º degree view of the surroundings. From here it is possible to circulate through another ramp connected to the patio and to a private secondary access that allows visitors to access the office directly without going through the house.
Casa Povo respects and adapts to the terrain, differentiates itself in a subtle and delicate way, maintaining a harmonious relationship between the public and the private. The spatial distribution and volume of the rooms follow and reflect the topography of different levels. The soft elevation ramp allows direct access to the patio, the living room and the kitchen, connecting all elements both inside and outside.
The creation of an internal garden with ramps gives the project the necessary integration, in addition to the almost playful sensorial expression used by children with the interconnection of the garden to the roof, allowing a permeability of the cave with the frameworks that section the spaces built with the garden.
Underneath the office, halfway through the room is the service area with connection to the outside. The solution allows light and natural ventilation through the gaps between each level of the staircase that connects the balcony of the room to the office on the upper floor.
The need to connect spaces creates a strong narrative of spatial distribution and fulfills its function while guiding the rhythm and composition of the shape of the architectural object.
The exposed concrete with, wooden slatted formwork, is the predominant constructive element on the facades and follows a monolithic volumetry, providing the protection that inspires it: a humanized cave.