Located on the Algarve coast, Casa M stands proudly on a village hill, overlooking the ocean. The design carefully considers the local climate – hot summers, humid winters, and a prevailing Atlantic breeze. As a townhouse on a narrow street, Casa M optimizes its space across half-floors to harmonize with neighbouring volumes. Bringing traditional architectural principles and vernacular expression to the contemporary world, Casa M beautifully blends with its surroundings.
Casa M prioritizes a sustainable design by integrating both passive and active systems, optimizing light, shade, and natural ventilation to significantly reduce energy consumption, eliminating the need for air conditioning. Eco-efficiency is ingrained in the design, with the incorporation of an interior courtyard that acts as a wind chimney, serving as a natural cooling system and a light shaft. The architectural design guides natural lighting and ventilation on a 19-meter deep plot, ensuring climatic comfort.
The house emphasizes outdoor living, with views considered from where people spend most of their time – cooking and gathering around the table with family and friends. The kitchen plays a central role, extending into the dining table and veranda lounge. The predominant al fresco living, embracing the outdoor environment without compromising the climate control of the rest of the house, relies on a windowed partition at the inner boundary of the kitchen that can be closed off from the rest of the house. In summary, movable partitions like interior windows and curtains play a fundamental role in Casa M, functioning as gates to regulate heat retention, privacy, and adapt to various year-round uses.
Spatial continuity is achieved through a single, uninterrupted terrazzo floor that extends seamlessly from the parking to the terrace, encompassing stairs, wainscoting, and the living area. Dense fabric curtains balance the mineral elements of the materials, giving fluidity and ensuring acoustic comfort.
Casa M’s design balances visual and spatial extension with the organization of comfortable living functions. The quiet white facade gains expression embracing smooth and textured surfaces, mass and voids. The effect is achieved through the variation of rendering techniques, the design of the perforated gates and the strategic incorporation of breeze blocks in a graphic interplay of light and shadow. The house offers a canvas reflecting the changes in nature and weather and a stage on which everyday life unfolds.
Architects: A-lab; Area: 290 m²; Year: 2023; Photographs:Alexander Bogorodskiy; Lead Architects: Luis Fonseca, Inês Almeida;