House of Messines by Vitor Vilhena

In São Bartolomeu de Messines, a small town only 100 km away from the Portuguese coast and surrounded by valleys, hills and reservoirs., Vitor Vilhena completed the design of a house built on the vestiges of the past.

While many associate the Algarve region with spectacular coastlines and high season tourism, the inland area is just as beautiful. House of Messines came as a replacement for an existing building. Fortunately, the old structure had convenient dimensions and, although, in ruins, it had a fantastic orientation. The architects were, therefore, able to raise their concept amid mountainous and vibrant landscapes.

The result is the House of Messines, a building with sharp lines and a fluid interior layout, where social spaces blend and private areas remain separate. The spectacular exterior is complemented by a rooftop pool, which extends from the end of the house and hovers above the ground. The pool is intended as a form of respect for the natural surroundings not to be obstructed more than necessary, privileging the magnificent 360 degree views, even being inside the pool.

Favoring natural light and openness to the surrounding landscape, the bay windows have been integrated, allowing the interior and exterior to communicate seamlessly. In the living room, the suspended fireplace adds its charm and sobriety to the refined decoration.

To reveal the architect’s intention, photographs of the house taken by Fernando Guerra are often accompanied by a person, contrasting the monolithic architectural style of the house with a human scale figure.

The poetry of House in Messines lies in its autonomy. The building is a singular vessel that houses inhabitants in harmony with the natural surrounding. It stands as an architectural piece that is minimal, focused, and purposeful.

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