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O House, Bom Sucesso, 2004/2009
PROJECT: O HOUSE Plots 127-130, 137-142
PROJECT STATUS: Built: 127, 128, 129, 130, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141 and 142
LOCATION: Óbidos – Herdade do Bom Sucesso, Design Resort, Leisure & Golf
ARCHITECTURE: Madalena Cardoso de Menezes and Francisco Teixeira Bastos
COORDINATION: Madalena Cardoso de Menezes
PLOT AREA: 127 till 130 ± 950 Sqm; 137 till 142 ± 750 Sqm
PROJECT DATE: 2004 - 2006
COLLABORATORS: Ana Botelho, Sérgio Hipólito, Sofia Tavares da Silva, Sérgio Xavier (3D model)
STRUCTURES: Carlos Delfim, Engenharia de Estruturas, Lda.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

At the root of this project was the search for a way of occupying all the spaces that make up a house, and the interdependence between these and a multiform central space.
We drew a line from east to west, right through the middle of the plot. We wanted to occupy the space in a lengthwise manner, thus allowing a free area to run parallel to the construction, along its total extension.
The constructed strip was laid against the eastern boundary, with a 3m separation, with the intent of assigning to the eastern façade the bedrooms and to the western one the living rooms. The northern end holds the entrance and parking areas, while the southern end is where the kitchen is located.
Placing the kitchen in a premium spot such as the south-eastern quadrant was not a simply a consequence. It was the intentional allotment to this space – one of the most intensely used in a family's everyday life - of an unusual but more important and comfortable position within the house.
We decided to separate the living room from the dining room, and to make them define a corner, both of them sharing the same outside space. In this way we managed not to occupy the house's south-western quadrant, endowing it with a covered courtyard which "splits" the construction, thus allowing light to flow in from south and the west, while at the same time it restores unity at the level of the rooftop which will run along the social areas.
Another conceptual choice presided over the distribution of spaces in this house. We wanted the suite to become the refuge of its future owners. So we made it the most prominent element in the construction, placed higher than the remainder of the house – we made it the space you seek, the place you go to. On the other hand, however, we subverted this idea by putting the suite in touch with the swimming pool area, the façade of the former becoming the backdrop for the latter. The programme is reworked to emphasise a sense of community, ruling over the entire project.
We wanted to create a central distribution space, in accordance with all the guidelines mentioned above. We come into this villa through a withdrawn entrance, stuck between two volumes forming an angle of 10º. The first entrance space, 50cm lower, leads to the main distribution space via three steps. In the central hallway are to be found all the distribution spaces and the two main axes of the house. It's a centrifugal space, although it contains a "superfluous" extra area that allows for informal encounters, activities, and so on.
We reach the bedrooms, suite, living room, toilet, laundry and kitchen through chambers placed on either side of this central hallway. The dining room is the only exception to this rule – it will be accessed through the end opposite the house's entrance, at the narrowest point in the hall.
The body comprising the suite and the living room suffered a 10º rotation from the original north/south alignment, so as to allow a visual escape from the dining room volume and, also, to more concisely define usable areas in the garden, namely in front of the courtyard, in front of the living room and by the swimming pool.
The pool will lie on the plot's northwest quadrant, on a plateau placed 55cm higher than the elevation of the corresponding street.
Architecturally, the whole villa is about volumes which create self-confined spaces; the resulting composition, however, provokes interior/exterior spatial ambiguities and these in turn give rise to a peculiar disposition of space and natural lighting.
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