In the rural town of Albergaria-a-Velha in Portugal’s picturesque Aveiro District, architect Maria Fradinho of local practice Frari renovated a single-level family house to include new exterior spaces so its owner can make the most of Aveiro’s pleasant, year-round climate.
The owner, who works in metallurgy, had four key requirements for this project. He wanted to transform the property’s annex into an area for entertaining come rain or shine, as well as remove one of the existing rooms and redistribute the space towards other programmes; the final criterion was to correct the house’s dysfunctional water filtration system. Scroll through the gallery below (Photography: Ivo Tavares Studio; Production: Nikey Cheng) to experience the bright, healing power of the design:
Because the 7,900-square-foot house sits within a 110,868-square-foot plot with an expansive backyard that looks out to a beautiful forest, Maria worked with her teammates Ana Rita Luís and Jéssica Barreto to create two distinct zones within the confines of the property.
Swathed in timber slat details is the fireplace equipped living area that is framed by impressive double height windows, creating an airy yet cosy environment.
“The house, which also includes a small pool, is located in what we call the ‘urban zone’, which faces the main street. What we did is create a new sports and leisure space with a paddle tennis court and garden in what we call the ‘rural zone’, which faces the forest,” says Maria who enclosed the annex in glass to turn it into a dining and event space where the owner can entertain family and friends. A new outdoor path was built to link the annex to the paddle court.
“The entire exterior arrangement was reformulated to create continuity between the indoor and outdoor spaces,” says Maria.
In homage to the owner’s profession, Fradinho used metallic structures and elements as outdoor screens and brise soleils.
“On the facade of the annex, a new metal pergola extends from the main house to give the structure of the property a unique J shape. This pergola provides sun and wind protection for the patio in front of the annex, so the owner and his guests can be inside the annex when it rains but can easily move outdoors when it’s sunny,” says Maria.
The all-white bedrooms are peppered with characterful accents that lend pops of character, such as the colour blocking on the wall and a sculptural azure-hued upholstered armchair.
In addition to the pergola, a vertical plane was created on the west side of the pool, to serve as a partition for the garden and to shield the new outdoor leisure zone from the neighbours’ view.
Within the house are an open plan living and dining area, a playroom, a study room, two kitchens, a laundry area, storage areas, three bedrooms and five bathrooms.
An existing concrete wall was demolished to combine the living and dining rooms into a single open-plan space. To ensure that the scale of the indoor spaces complements the updated exterior, Maria reduced the height of the living area with a false ceiling of wooden slats. This wooded slat ceiling helps to visually demarcate the living from the dining and also improves acoustics and temperature regulation.
Contrary to the bright and airy living areas, the kitchen and dining room ooze a distinctly more sultry and moody allure, decorated with dark cabinetry and wine racks on the wall.
To address the issue of water filtration, Maria created a rainwater filtration system with drains along the perimeter of the house and waterproofed the floors and walls.
“We improved the existing infrastructural problems and transformed the interiors and exteriors of this house so it is now more versatile and more aesthetically pleasing,” she says.
Blooming flora and plants warm up the striking modernist white facade, featuring a new metal pergola that extends out from the main house into the expansive al fresco areas.