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Concrete House Buried Under Artificial Sand Dunes

Casa Monte is located in Comporta, Portugal on 25 hectares of land is the design of Pereira Miquel Arquitectos. Originally the large site consisted of trees and sand. Lots of sand – and since Pereira Miquel Arquitectos prefers to create residences that incorporate a sustainable practice it seemed like a natural idea to incorporate the sand into the building aesthetic.Two Barchan sand dunes where positioned over the road that past through the property, enclosing two sides of the residence. The man made sand dunes not only create a link between the house and the landscape but also offer an easily accessible view into the horizon of trees.

The sand dunes create a sloping path onto the roof offering a birds eye view over the 25 hectares that surround the home. The grey weathered wood façade blends seamlessly with the colours within the sand and if not for the shutters that flank each section of glazing, the home would all but disappear into the backdrop of trees.
The exposed façade of the residence is a geometric modernist design that incorporates angles in both the vertical and horizontal planes. The angled roofline and various deck pads create graphic patterns of shadows that are an important part of the overall visual.
Even the side view of Casa Monte uses carefully placed angles to create a dynamic statement against the softness of the surrounding sand. Juxtaposed against the contrasting forms of the sand and the home are the trees. The trees add in a third design dimension of playful shadows that flicker and move across the concrete façade in a dance that changes throughout the day.
The trees also create a verticality that is lost with the burying of the home. Standing tall and proud, the trees frame the home and its sand dunes while at the same time offering shade to the outdoor lifestyle of deck and pool.
The design of the pool and its surrounding decks continue the story of geometric planes. Choosing to stay with a simple rectangular form for the pool itself, a wide 12″ concrete edge disappears under a raised and cantilevered deck wrapping two of its sides. The blue of the water mirrors the sky while the concrete and deck blend harmoniously with the sand and trees. Even the vertical hand stripped poles that contain the sand create a repeat pattern similar to the graining of the wood panels across the wall glazings.
The pool is a great way to cool off on those extra hot days and luckily for the homeowners it is only a few feet away from the interior zones. From home to pool to landscaping, the lifestyle is one of simple serenity that is in complete balance with the 25 hectares of sand and trees that surround it.
The wood shutters that close off the windows are an important part of the overall design. Even with the roof overhang, the home would not escape the heat o f the sun, but with the shutters closed and the sand offering a barrier to the heat, the home stays comfortably cool during the heat of the day.
When the sun is not as strong or has past the angle of entering, the shutters and windows can be opened wide for that perfect indoor – outdoor lifestyle.
Casa Monte is built in a crisscross pattern with four concrete arms dividing the public and private zones. The private volume incorporates the same weathered wood panels on the façade and the same wood shutters on the windows, but here the angles are minimized as are the glass openings. It is clear this section is more private as it creates a more modest and unassuming visual.
Pereira Miquel Arquitectos wanted to create a home that established anew relationship between architecture and the landscape. I think its safe to say they have done just that.
Pereira Miquel Arquitectos
Photographer: Fernando Guerra + Sergio Guerra


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