Enjoy indoor and outdoor living in this Costa Vicentina home

Located next to the sea on the southwest coast of Portugal, this Lisbon family vacation home takes advantage of the natural surroundings. The design embraces indoor and outdoor living.

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Located along the Costa Vicentina Natural Park on a strip of land that ends at the sea, this house is inspired by the natural elements. Although the original house was too dilapidated to salvage, GSS Architects relied on the same basic scheme for the new structures to ensure minimal impact on the site.

Related: Innovative biophilic design planned for new village in Portugal

The exterior of a house at sunset.

In total, the project comprises four buildings with a central common outdoor space. The common space includes shade, a solarium, eating areas and other gathering places such as a fire pit and a vegetable garden. The designers surrounded the space with native plants and sand to minimize water and maintenance requirements. Carefully planned exterior lighting outlines pathways between homes and common areas.

A walkway leading to a patio.

The architecture is basic and simplified to minimize material requirements. A balance of traditional design and contemporary elements such as gabled roofs accented with rustic, handcrafted tiles bring a lot of regional character to the project.

The patio of a house designed to live indoors and outdoors.

Natural light is central to the design with interior rooms flooded by skylights. The windows also serve as a connection to the outdoor space. A pergola surrounding the structures provides temperature control and passive lighting.

A courtyard lit at night.

The interior design divides the main living room with a fireplace and defines the dining room on the other side. Building materials were selected taking into account regional architecture and energy efficiency. The exterior walls are covered with thermal insulation with an easy to maintain finish.

Chairs around a fireplace.

Additional materials include cement flooring and PVC combs to waterproof the house at the foundation level. The walls are stuccoed and painted white for a glossy finish, while the ceilings sit on wood.

+ GSS Architects

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Images by João Guimarães