Located in the north part of S. Michel Island in the Azores, this family residence surprises with its intricate architecture. The main criterion which led architect Bernardo Rodrigues to this design was local micro climate, with strong winds and frequent rain showers. Like hiding from the bad weather, the main structure(s) of the house are protected by a wall that was erected to cut the wind. If we were to virtually dismantle this house to pieces, we would find the main geometries that compose the sophisticated whole. First of all there is a stand-up L shape, made from the vertical protection wall and a horizontal concrete slab which serves as foundation to the house. Inside the L shape, overlapping glass container like modules are sandwiched between two organically shaped modules that look like flying birds. The empty spaces created my the combination of these volumes are used as patios or interior gardens and they allow the family to enjoy time “outside” even when it rains. The shape of the house changes completely depending on the point of view. If we look at it from the direction of the wind, the only thing we will see is a flat wall in the middle of nowhere, like the ruin of a once existing building. From the sides we will see the birds and from the back there is a more intriguing view, as all the elements show themselves partially to the eye. The flat part of the roof creates a roof top terrace with beautiful views on the landscape on the island.
The red-painted protection wall has irregular openings; two of them are glazed and bring light into the living room on the ground floor and one of the bedrooms on the top floor. The third one is just an opening, an it serves as “window” on the landscape from the roof top terrace.
The family enjoys the rooftop terrace for relaxing moments of quiet reading or simply to admire the beauty of the island. Colorful Fat Boy pillows are moved from on spot to the other for informal seating.
Situated in pockets created between the modules that form the house, the covered interior patios offer the family the possibility to enjoy semi-open spaces even on bad weather. Easy to move, the Fat Boy pillows travel from terrace to patio and back.
Because of the irregular geometry of the space, the volumes inside also have unusual heights and shapes. The kitchen is set in such a space, with a very high sloping ceiling.The light is brought in by the windows behind the work top, but also from above, through the long rectangular window.
The girls bedrooms are decorated in a playful and colorful contemporary style. The eye-of-the-bird-window has a delightful cantilevering wooden sill like a cradle, where the children can relax.
The communal living spaces on the ground floor are generous and open. The glazed walls open up the space on the garden and the pool. Natural light penetrates freely through these glass walls, but also through the different other openings created by the irregular shape of the house.