Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Casa em Sintra in Sintra, Portugal by Regino Cruz Arquitectos
August 2nd, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Regino Cruz Arquitectos
We saw this piece of land, with almost one acre, where we conceived our villa, as a spiritual retreat where the secular cork trees were abundant. Any construction can be built in one or two years, but the privilege of contemplating cork trees like those is the product of at least five generations, more than 150 years in time. So, it’s fair to say that in this case, architecture occupied the remaining space.
The client was precise, even meticulous. He wanted a contemporary architecture that could inspire the cosiness of a day to day life – a place to get home to after work, to receive friends, lots of friends, where a generational dialogue could take place between parents and children and those yet to come.
To Regino Cruz Architects this encounter means we have to create a piece of architecture where privacy doesn’t mean enclosure and design could embrace functionality adapting it to the family needs. We had to create lasting comfort – as lasting as good cork can be.
The construction had an intelligent system of energetic management that captures the solar energy through panels located on the covering. The architecture privileges the passive techniques of energy conservation, so we took special care with the solar exhibition of the façades and the balance between glass surfaces, necessarily wide, and the shadowing pales, incorporated in the building aesthetics.
The volumes protect the playful area on the outside from the northern winds. The swimming pool water is warmed all year long by geothermal energy. The house conception obeyed the two pre-existences: the local flora and topography.
The outcome was a game of two parallelepiped volumes in interception mode. They come together in a string of wide areas, both in and out of the house. It’s a surprising effect that combines transparency, a permanent dialogue with the trees, simple materials and the balance of it all. The modules and half modules inspire a sense of order that extends to the construction grid.
So, we have two different directions that talk to each other along the 1500 square meters of construction area and also divide the terrain in 4 distinct quadrants: the entrance atrium, connecting with the garage; the informal masonry corner, ideal for games and playful activities; the wood garden that offers a more intimate atmosphere and the pool garden, available for sun during the end of the morning and all afternoon. This is the place where all the living-room doors convey.
These two directions define the metric that tie all spaces together. The one perpendicular to the street determines all the functional house compartments and also the accesses – outside ramps, corridors and stairs. The oblique one guide all the spaces – living room, home cinema and garage, open to the entrance lobby at street level.
It’s the details that generate the differences: the entrance hall is deliberately shy and conveys to an interior ‘rock garden’ that emphasises the living room’s wideness; the imported masonry rock hand placed by layers promotes the dialogue between history and contemporaneity; the children suites geometry is so creative and flexible that, in a few years, it will receive their children’s children when they visit the parents house, open then as today, to embrace this pendulum movement of generations.
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