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Ssshht... This is an architectural gem - relax

Ssshht… This is an architectural gem – relax

Only a concrete canopy and a few windows suggest that an architectural gem lurks under the deserted grass on the east side of the Alentejo. Business card of Silent Living, a serene holiday concept for pilot João Rodrigues.

Vacationers may be surprised during the last kilometers on the deserted and windy roads in the eastern part of Alentenjo in Portugal on their way to the Casa na Terra holiday home. On the border of the Spanish deserts of Extremadura, this part of the country is known for its fortified towns and pretty villages of whitewashed houses. But Casa Na Terra is clearly an exception to the rule, in all respects. The house is mostly underground and can barely be seen, even up close. The only visible element in the house is the concrete canopy. The latest addition to the Silent Living portfolio, the brainchild of pilot Joao Rodrigues, the ‘cave house’ lives up to the concept of this small chain of intimate vacation homes. “The first words our holiday guests spontaneously say as they enter their holiday homes are ‘family’, home, ‘simplicity’ but above all ‘silence’, hence the name of our series.”

Vacationers may be surprised during the last kilometers on the deserted and windy roads in the eastern part of Alentenjo in Portugal on their way to the Casa na Terra holiday home. On the border of the Spanish deserts of Extremadura, this part of the country is known for its fortified towns and pretty villages of whitewashed houses. But Casa Na Terra is clearly an exception to the rule, in all respects. The house is mostly underground and can barely be seen, even up close. The only visible element in the house is the concrete canopy. The latest addition to the Silent Living portfolio, the brainchild of pilot Joao Rodrigues, the ‘cave house’ lives up to the concept of this small chain of intimate vacation homes. “The first words our holiday guests spontaneously say as they enter their holiday homes are ‘family’, home, ‘simplicity’ but above all ‘silence’, hence the name of our chain.” Silent Living was established about fourteen years ago. The group now operates about five sites, all of which, except for the beautifully restored 1728 Santa Clara in Lisbon’s famous Alfama district, are spread across the vast and sparsely populated Alentejo. With wheat fields, vineyards, cork oak forests, castle hills, fortified or fortified towns.To the west you can enjoy a beautiful coastline with wild beaches and charming fishing villages.Rodrigues’ mission statement is to offer his guests a unique experience in this region through spacious seclusion, with the luxury of concierge and catering. , but above all in an architecture that allows you to reconnect with yourself and with the people around you. It allows small changes in your life and that is healing. It is perfectly in line with what he did from the beginning, with his first holiday home: receiving guests in an exceptional atmosphere and architecture An architecture in perfect harmony with the environment. The first of that chain was Casas na Areia in Coporta, a seaside town about an hour’s drive south from Lisbon and originally the weekend home of João Rodriguez’s family with his five children. The stalls were so avant-garde “unflammable” that their pictures were passed from hand to hand. Not surprisingly, the sand floor completely disappears the boundary between indoors and outdoors while the structure becomes one with the surrounding nature. The focus is on connection and serenity and motivates the visitor to strive for a simpler lifestyle. The weekend house was allowed to represent Portugal at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale; It was actually rented out to friends and soon after that it became a real vacation home. The formula was born in a very organic way. This is how Rodriguez started developing Silent Living. Again and again the focus is on the local level. “It’s not just about the local way of building or the local materials – not more than half an hour away from the site, it’s the norm – but also about the services we provide on site. The people from there are the ones taking care of breakfast, cleaning or making dinner to order, Preferably with local ingredients. The whole idea was for each house to show a certain way of life, in a certain place, through the building but also through the people who work there.” In a beach house like Casas na Areia, you should feel the sand between your toes, the fishermen’s houses on the river, Cabanas no Rio, were supposed to become the most emblematic of the area: two wooden cabanas, near a swamp surrounded by a strip of water with a pontoon and a lone boat. At Casas no Tempo, on a former farm owned by the Rodrigues family for four generations, farm life is never far away. And at Santa Clara 1728, a beautiful six-room hotel in a former convent atop one of Lisbon’s seven hills, you can savor the atmosphere of times long gone. But back to the present, to the recent acquisition, Casa na Terra, which means “home in the country”. So we have to go east of the Alentejo, towards Spanish Extremadura. That area was one of the driest in Portugal until the Alqueva Dam was built in 2002, creating one of the largest artificial lakes in Europe. For example, the former ruins on which Casa Na Tira was built were buried underground. Amid the gently rolling hills and open skies of the Alentejo region, a few steps from the beaches of Alqueva, the underground house is buried beneath the surface of the earth, on the site of an existing property that was flooded when it was destroyed. It was created. For all of his other Silent Living projects, Rodrigues collaborated on this project with his friend and partner in crime, Portuguese architect Manuel Aires Mateus. “He is adept at defining the initial concept, while respecting the original building and the wishes of the client and the environment.” Here the context of the vanishing ruin played an important role, which made the two decide to hide the house as much as possible, fully respecting nature and certainly not competing with it. “When we were at work, no one knew it was a house. There were rumors that it was owned by the military or was intended for astronomical research, but no one could have imagined that it would be a place to live.” Not surprisingly, the green roof resembles a natural slope, only the white circular courtyards that serve as light sources betray that this is an artificial construction. The only visible element of the concrete bunker is a circular canopy, with a circular skylight, that conceals the common spaces and extends over an outdoor patio. The perfect round opening in the ceiling frames the blue sky. From the balcony you can see the beautiful sunrise and sunset over the lake. The floors and walls are silky concrete, providing a nice coolness but never too cold, and fusing with the warm natural woods of the custom furnishings, many of which are made by local artisans using local materials. The three bedrooms, furnished in a discreet style, are arranged in the back around white-tiled outdoor lobbies. They bathe indoors with natural light. Lots of light also flows through the sliding glass door to the kitchen and living room. Nothing superfluous here, except for a few timeless designs here and there, which give the space the contemplative feel of a contemporary monastery. “That’s exactly what we aim for with Silent Living, to create a place where you sleep, enjoy the silence and become one with the natural elements around you.” Slow, slower, slower.

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