surrounded by vine7ards and olive trees, this villa designed by camarim arquitectos is embedded into the rolling terrain of the portugese countryside.
located in penela, a municipality in the country’s central coimbra district, the dwelling presents views over the southern tip of serra da estrela — the highest point in mainland portugal. named ‘casa na gateira’, the house has been designed for a british couple who wanted a second home that offered a respite from their hectic life in london.
while working on the project, the design team — led by vasco matias correia and patrícia ferreira de sousa — sought to interfere as little as possible with the dramatic landscape. consequently, the property adopts a low-profile, with three connected volumes built into the terrain. the home is accessed at the plot’s upper level, through a wall that evokes the region’s traditional slate buildings and descends towards the house’s core. this communal space is split across two levels, containing cooking, dining, and living amenities that spill onto an outdoor terrace with its own pool. from this space, the dwelling continues to extend along the topography — each area sits on a different level and maintains direct access to the outside.
conceived as a ‘walk in the countryside’, the building’s layout also results in environmental benefits, with a high thermal mass ensuring a balanced internal environment. the patio between the living room and the master bedroom is a passive thermal device, creating a heat differential between the swimming pool and the patio. in turn, this generates an ascending air flow that cools the property in warmer months, while allowing for insulation of the house’s core in autumn and winter.