House in Ílhavo by M2 Senos Architects

WORDS Cheri Morris PHOTOS Ivo Tavares

Like the Portuguese farm fields of old it’s surrounded by, House in Ílhavo by M2 Senos Architects is low and slow; a predominantly ground-floor design that spreads across its plot, employing Riga wood, concrete forms and minimalism to foreground an ambience of rest and reprieve.

The chief architectural concern was to negate the discomfort of severely proximate neighbours without forgoing outdoor spaces or unnecessarily walling the home off. And so, the structure leans against the neighbouring gable to the west, developing to the east side and appearing to dematerialise as one retreats over the street to the annexed volume – a visual bookend.

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Interior spaces are angled away from the façade to create protected patios – spaces that can be extended via shutters and sliding doors, fostering an ambiguity in the exterior-interior dichotomy. Minimal interiors allow textured Riga and concrete to engage in dialogue. The result is a gentle ambience of warmth and soothing calm.

M2 Senos Architects

The landscaping also plays a fundamental role in creating natural, visually idyllic spaces. Native, sustainable trees and shrubs planted to provide shade, scents and even an aromatic herb or two for homemade meals.

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