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Casa do Sobreiro / Skemba – Arquitectura & Engenharia

Architect: Skemba - Arquitectura & Engenharia
Place: Figueiró Santiago-Amarante, Portugal
Photographer: Ivo Tavares Studio
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The project in question is intended for a single-family home that revolves around a remarkable element of theland, acentury-old Cork Oak tree. We can start this description by alluding to the project’s title: “The House of the Cork Oak”and not “The Cork Oak of the House.” This is because the said tree emerges as the main and prominent elementthroughout the intervention.The land, approximately 730 square meters, is located in a small rural cluster in the parish of Figueiró–Amarante. Theaccess road is narrow, with constructions like houses, fencing/support walls, and/orsmall buildingsadjacent to it. Starting with the large Cork Oak, valuing it and promoting harmony with the built volume, the proposal respects thesetback from the road and neighboringconstructionswith several decades of existence, the path of servitude to thewest, and the boundary of the national agricultural reserve to the south. The solar exposure and the landscape alsoplayed a crucial role in the design.

From the elevation facing the street, the house closes itself off to the road, with only the entrance volume standing out,while opening to the south to embrace the landscape and the garden space. The upper volume (made of cork) extendsoutward relative to the ground floor (made of exposed brick), coming closer to the majestic Cork Oak, respecting itscanopy, and creating a covered area that serves as an extension of the social zone.On the opposite side, next to the existingconstruction, the ground floor volume moves away and gains height, creatinga small pool that serves the terrace and balcony of the bedrooms.

Internally, the house was designed for a family of two adults and two children. Its functionality is straightforward, withclearly defined spaces. On the ground floor, there is only a central volume around which one can circulate between theentrance hall, living room, andkitchen. This volume includes furniture to support the living room and kitchen, a pantry,a bathroom, and the staircase leading to the upper floor with the bedroom.

The desired fluidity and communication between spaces are realized through the double-height space in the living roomarea, where one can circulate to the three bedrooms.The house aims to coexist harmoniously with the grand Cork Oak, always respecting its presence and giving it dueprominence and importance without compromising the functionand enjoyment of the surrounding outdoor space.

  • Project name: Casa do Sobreiro
  • Architecture Office: Skemba–Arquitectura Engenharia, Lda.
  • Main Architect: Rui FariaColaboração
  • Location: Figueiró Santiago-Amarante
  • Total area: 318,08 m2
  • Architectural Photographer: Ivo Tavares Studio

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