Facing south in an unlikely spot among the steep, rugged terrain in Cerva, this holiday home in Portugal is skillfully integrated into its formidable site.
Portuguese architect Alvaro Leite Siza placed the home at the center of the lot in a linear position to maintain a strong presence and preserve the continuity and pre-existing natural terrain.
The fragmentation of spaces was necessary to transform the home into a composition of modest, interconnected spaces that make sense of the whole.
The main living space is placed at the center, with a fireside lounge, a fully equipped kitchen and dining space and warm wood accents that break up the coolness of the concrete. The stairs repeat throughout the interiors connecting the spaces with borderless slats. There are three bedrooms that can sleep up to five guests and a minimalist, neutral selection of furnishings that quietly complement the spaces. The outdoor terraces correspond to the roof lines of the various levels and there are pedestrian paths that link them together. Each room has its own patio space.
The outdoor terraces adapt to the terrain, with direct links to the gardens, and a plunge pool at the center with fountains that cascade down, naturally unifying the house and its environment.
Welcome brunch, kitchen and bath amenities, private parking.
Just fifty minutes inland from Porto, the rural area around the town of Cerva, is dotted with charming villages among the green landscapes and rivers. An hour from Portugal’s third largest city of Braga, the city is well known as a place of legendary traditions and festivals including the elaborate Semana Santa. Its elegant historic center is closed to vehicles, offering a great opportunity to wander its maze of narrow lanes and explore the Baroque architecture and plazas lined with great cafes and shops.
The UNESCO city of Guimarães is under and hours drive from the property and is similarly beautiful and historic with a picturesque medieval center and the thousand year old castle and the massive 15th century palace perched opposite the town. Once the capital of Portugal it was named the European Capital of Culture in 2012. Just over an hour north is the stunning Peneda-Geres National Park and World Heritage Biosphere. A vast expanse of wilderness, its Portugal’s only national park with multiple entrance points leading up to the Spanish border. Closer to the house is the Alvao National Park with beautiful forested land and trekking routes.
Cerva, Portugal. Nearest Airport: Francisco Sá Carneiro Porto Airport (100km)
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year round
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