House in Martinhal


This house is located in Martinhal, a turistic urbanization near Sagres. This is a fairly unbuilt Algarve seacoast, probably due to its aggressive windy weather. Like in the rest of the country, here finally landed instant touristic villages of rustic and traditional-like houses, claiming to be “portuguese architecture”, to please and sell to foreign tourists. The homogeneity of these urbanizations along the country, when compared to the local variety and richeness of popular portuguese architecture, strikes us as a colonizer typology, unknown, mistaken and groundless.

This house project was developed on the strict respect to the rules of the urbanization master-plan, in its distances to the lot limits, footprint, gross construction surface and volumetric zoning. The longest and higher volume is located on the north side, shaping a quiet marble patio, protected from dominant winds. The lower volume of the bedrooms faces the road creating an “L” shaped house, while providing more privacy to the swimming-pool patio.

Inside-outside spatial relationships are articulated through the tiled court-yards, protecting the large glazed windows from the strong direct sun light, while filtering and reframing fragments on untouched landscape. On the exterior, the house life leans over the nearby valley. The white house with flat roofs, recovers ancient local architectural typologies, where fruits and fish were dried on terraces, a feature that touristic developments seem to forget.

Awarded International Architecture Awards 2008 – Chicago Athenaeum



Sagres, Portugal

2002 - 2003
2005 - 2007

320 m2


ARX Portugal, Arquitectos lda.

José Mateus

Nuno Mateus


SAFRE, Projectos e Estudos de Engenharia Lda.




FS + SG – Fotografia de Arquitectura
Photography : Fernando Guerra
Production : Sérgio Guerra
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