Time­less house in Por­tu­gal

An hour’s drive south of Lis­bon, in the re­gion of Alen­tejo, famed for its vast golden plains, dot­ted here and there with clus­ters of olive and oak trees, is a guest house un­like any other: “Casa No Tempo”, in other words, “Time­less House”.

Milk Magazine (English) - - CONTENTS - text: jeremy cal­laghan pho­tos: gaelle le boulicaut

The owner, João Miguel Ro­driguez, a pi­lot by trade, is a man of con­vic­tion. When not fly­ing above the clouds over Europe, he de­votes his time to his pas­sion: us­ing ar­chi­tec­ture to bring old-fash­ioned val­ues into our mod­ern ex­is­tence. In this na­ture re­serve close to the UNESCO world her­itage site of Evora, he has con­verted the house owned by his fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions into a jewel of au­then­tic­ity, a sub­tle mix of tra­di­tion and moder­nity. João knows the house well. As a child, he spent a lot of time here with his grand­fa­ther, who wanted it to re­main in the hands of the fam­ily, so that his de­scen­dants could en­joy it. Skil­fully com­bin­ing the build­ing’s past with its fu­ture, João has man­aged to erase the marks of time while pre­serv­ing traces of its his­tory. To re­store this 400-me­tre-square home, he called upon the ser­vices of Manuel Aires Ma­teus, a world-fa­mous Por­tuguese ar­chi­tect and long-stand­ing friend. The idea was to cre­ate a peace­ful guest house un­touched by time, an­chored in lo­cal Por­tuguese tra­di­tions, yet ben­e­fit­ing from the lat­est tech­nol­ogy.

João has al­ways been im­pressed by the cul­tural wealth and au­then­tic­ity of the coun­try­side and its in­hab­i­tants who live off the fruits of their labour, in har­mony with na­ture. He en­cour­ages

vis­i­tors to come and ex­plore the nat­u­ral trea­sures that the coun­try­side has to of­fer. “When I was a child, su­per­mar­kets did not ex­ist. Fam­i­lies from Lis­bon came to spend a day in the coun­try so that they could fill up their cars with re­gional pro­duce, which they pur­chased from lo­cal farm­ers. Through this cur­rent project, I hope that peo­ple will come and re­con­nect with the con­sid­er­able re­sources the coun­try­side and its in­hab­i­tants have to of­fer.”

The vast grounds are dot­ted with cork oaks, graz­ing ar­eas, un­spoilt prairies, two lakes, five ponds and streams. A swim­ming pool now re­sides in one of the mead­ows. Al­though con­tem­po­rary in de­sign, it seems to be fit in quite nat­u­rally. “I wanted to cre­ate the im­pres­sion of ad­mir­ing the coun­try­side and the house from a lake or a nat­u­ral source of wa­ter. There are quite a few of them on the prop­erty and we could eas­ily have con­verted one into a pool, but Manuel Aires Ma­teus had an­other idea in mind. He said: ‘Don’t worry, I’m busy work­ing on some­thing. I know ex­actly what you are look­ing for.’” The re­sult is un­de­ni­ably bril­liant.

Liv­ing Di­vani “Chemise” sofa and arm­chairs de­signed by Piero Lis­soni. Wooden fur­ni­ture made to mea­sure for the ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice Aires Ma­teus.

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