House in Juso

House in Juso, Portugal by ARX Portugal + Stefano Riva, 2011

The following text and images are courtesy ARX Portugal.

In the concept for this small house in the vicinity of Aldeia de Juso, the tiniest area of flat land and the high density of the new houses yet to be built forcibly draw us to some sort of obsession about the possibilities of dilating space. Underlying this question, the importance of “expanding” the outdoor space becomes a particular central aspect, since it is also a building integrated in a semi-rural area, where people go looking for the experience of inhabiting garden or open spaces.

We propose to solve and clarify the question by widening the inhabitable spaces to their maximum, both in the vertical and horizontal direction, inside and outside. The building has been thus structured in three floors, spatially related in profile, yet each level having specific and different characteristics. In Level -1, the areas are laid out (as the regulations so demand) under the contour of the ground level. However, this idea of “imposed limits” is to be questioned through the means of “distensions” and “advancements”, to be operated in the three possible directions (north, east and west), shaped as yards and pool. This floor also includes work and service areas.

On the ground level, the limits for the “precincts” appears widened and defined by the walls around the lot. The inner space is freely configured. Consistent with the strategy of maximizing the presence of the gardened outdoor space, the garage is then left aside to an “inserted” area to the south of the kitchen. All the social spaces of the building are located on this floor. On the upper floor resides what is the most significant expression of this project, built to the maximum limits allowed by the regulations: a kind of enclosure of opaque lines encompassing the bedrooms and their respective yards, thus expanding the enjoyable areas and protecting their necessary intimacy. Finally, on the roof level an accessible terrace liberates the eye over a 360º view of the surrounding houses, the sea, and the beautiful mountains of Sintra.


Project-construction: 2008-2011
Architecture: ARX Portugal + Stefano Riva: Nuno Mateus e José Mateus c/ Stefano Riva
Landscape Architecture: Sara Machado
Engineering: Marco Caixa, António Paiva, Fernandes, Miguel Marques
Contractor: Gardenblok Construções Lda.
Area: 170 m2 (1,830 sf)
Photography: Fernando Guerra | FG+SG • ; ARX Portugal