Estremoz is where we have spent our holidays since childhood.

We grew up building fond memories of Alentejo’s sun-baked landscapes of cork trees,
whitewashed villages, vineyards and olive groves.

We have renovated this house, which was built in 1939 and then acquired and kept it in the family for three generations, with our friend and architect João Cassiano Santos who preserved the lines and the soul of the place, so that guests could share the same joy that we have always had there.

In the initial conversations about the project, João Cassiano Santos reminds us of a reflection by the architect Rafael Moneo, winner of the Pritzker Prize (1996), to illustrate the challenge we were facing:

“Discerning between those attributes of the place that must be preserved, those that must be made manifest in the new reality that emerges once the structurally immobile artefact appears as a constructed building, and all those others that are superfluous and must therefore disappear, is crucial for the architect.“ (excerpt from “The Murmur of the Place”, 1995).

We kept the structural elements that give us a sense of place and are a hallmark of traditional Alentejo architecture – a single ground floor, the thick walls that ensure thermal insulation, the white façades, the existing chimneys.

In the design of the living room and kitchen, it was decided to maintain a continuous roof line and take advantage of the natural slope of the land to gain a much higher ceiling height and spaciousness.

The terrace in front of the bedrooms was maintained and levelled, complemented by wooden decks in the kitchen and living room area, allowing easy circulation around the house and a pleasant sensation of walking on a suspended plane. 

Two flights of stairs lead down to the 11 x 5 metre swimming pool, with its large wooden deck surrounding it.