Casa de Lavra

WORDS Gina Dionisio PHOTOS Ivo Tavares Studio

Casa de Lavra embodies the intricate relationship architecture can forge between space, nature and the client. 

Thanks to the synergy that architect Ricardo Azevedo shared with the clients – a common language of design that was unspoken yet understood – he was given complete creative freedom to design this unique bejewelled abode in Porto, Portugal.

The original 1980s residence on-site bore traditional architectural features, with a distinct disconnect between interior and exterior spaces. The challenge for Ricardo lay in transforming the old foundations into a house which bridged these two realms so that these became immersive spaces without discernible boundaries.

Moving through each space at Casa de Lavra is a sensory journey. Each space is curated to align with specific environments. The social areas, for example, feature tropical greenery and grained marble, which gives this space a unique ambience. “It is the house of a gardener. A man who belongs to the trees, to the cedar, to the maples, to the air breeze. The house can’t contain him. These spaces convert themselves into a house without walls. The garden was a blank space that the client shaped as a sculptor craves a rough stone into a diamond,” says Ricardo.

The layout of the house balances functionality with serenity, while seamlessly linking living spaces with the enchanting pool area. The multi-tiered pool area, adorned with exquisite materials and a cascading wall doubling as a waterfall, offers a serene auditory backdrop.

The living room opens up directly onto a porch. Here, artist Paulo Neves’ sculptural touch manifests in an organic, carved door, providing an immersive wine-tasting experience while opening up to the enchanting garden.

Although the property is close to the sea, it originally didn’t offer a view of the ocean. To solve this, a suite with a balcony was added, and a second floor was built to provide an expansive view of the horizon. As Ricardo aptly describes, “From now on, the house glimpses the sea. The sea was close by, but couldn’t be seen. Now the boats who wait at the Porto de Leixões are the background of a glass wall who opens up into the horizon”.

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