One-of-a-kind Weekend Retreat Embedded Between Two Natural Ponds

Some of the most inspiring and timeless architectural creations come from a desire to work in harmony with nature and to take advantage of the topography, landscape and views in the best way possible. Such a marvelous creation was a weekend family retreat designed and built by architecture studio Carvalho Araújo. The building was erected on a steeply sloped site from Peneda-Gerês National Park in the Northern part of Portugal. There are two naturally-formed ponds on the site: one at the top of the hillside and one at the bottom. They’re connected by a stream.

The house is a harmonious blend of concrete, steel and glass and has a large, cantilevered wooden volumeView in gallery
The house is a harmonious blend of concrete, steel and glass and has a large, cantilevered wooden volume
The concrete base and overall frame give the house a robust look with very clean and well-defined linesView in gallery
The concrete base and overall frame give the house a robust look with very clean and well-defined lines
The house is positioned between the two natural ponds and makes the most of its unique surroundingsView in gallery
The house is positioned between the two natural ponds and makes the most of its unique surroundings

The house takes the place of an old structure which used to sit at the top of the site. That building was demolished and a new one was built in its place, better positioned and equipped to withstand the occasional landslides occurring in the area. A good and organization relation between the house and the land was crucial and all the efforts of the architects went into making it possible. They managed that by taking advantage of the steep slopes and the mesmerizing views and by embedding the house into the site and allowing the volumes to cantilever.

The steep slope meant that the house had to be embedded into the site and this gives it a lot of characterView in gallery
The steep slope meant that the house had to be embedded into the site and this gives it a lot of character
The entryway is located at the top of the hill which puts the driveway at roof levelView in gallery
The entryway is located at the top of the hill which puts the driveway at roof level
The spectacular views are maximized throughout the house in all sorts of magnificent waysView in gallery
The spectacular views are maximized throughout the house in all sorts of magnificent ways
instead of a series of volumes with individual functions, the client requested large, multipurpose spacesView in gallery
instead of a series of volumes with individual functions, the client requested large, multipurpose spaces
The house was designed to be a hybrid between a leisure and a work environmentView in gallery
The house was designed to be a hybrid between a leisure and a work environment
The interior design puts an emphasis on simplicity and natural materials, finishes and colorsView in gallery
The interior design puts an emphasis on simplicity and natural materials, finishes and colors
A wood-paneled ceiling and wooden furniture balances the decor of this bedroom, adding a warm touchView in gallery
A wood-paneled ceiling and wooden furniture balances the decor of this bedroom, adding a warm touch
The guest bedroom is framed in wood entirely with the exception of the windowsView in gallery
The guest bedroom is framed in wood entirely with the exception of the windows
The lighting throughout the spaces is always meant to feel natural, without highlighting the actual fixturesView in gallery
The lighting throughout the spaces is always meant to feel natural, without highlighting the actual fixtures
This is indeed a one-of-a-kind project, all thanks to the unique conglomerate of awesome landscape featuresView in gallery
This is indeed a one-of-a-kind project, all thanks to the unique conglomerate of awesome landscape features