Casa de Lavra stands as a testament to the harmonious interplay between space and client—a unique reflection of the dynamic relationship architecture can foster. In this instance, architect Ricardo Azevedo discovered that the project seemed to take form “enthusiastically at the site.” With a profound understanding of the client and their surroundings, the transition from sketch to reality was swift, bypassing intermediaries.
This seamless progression was a result of the intrinsic connection shared between architect and client, communicating in an unspoken language. A sense of absolute freedom permeated the project, a freedom born from trust. “The best results occur when trust is extended to us,” states the architect, acknowledging the inherent challenge of predicting the future through design. Here, trust was the cornerstone, where only time constraints and concurrent construction served as limitations. Behind this harmonious endeavor, there’s always someone who turns the architect’s ambitious visions into reality—a partner like Paulo Oliveira, completing the synergy from concept to execution.
The project’s evolution hinged on addressing issues discovered in a comprehensive analysis of the existing structure—an 80s house with traditional features, archways, and a garden. While architectural rehabilitation often invokes historical reverence, some structures lack such significance, as was the case here. A disconnection existed between indoors and outdoors, resulting in an apparent gap between realities. The solution lay in bridging this divide, blurring distinctions until interior and exterior melded into one. The inside became the outside, and vice versa, converging within the program’s parameters. The design embraced an experience of being both indoors and outdoors without discernible boundaries.
Distinct volumes emerged, elevated from the base—a lobby, an expanded living area, and a novel social space. This expansion was a testament to the project’s core aim: to seamlessly interlace interior and exterior spaces. The connection to nature sparked a sensory dialogue across various spaces, each defined by their chosen materials and atmosphere. For example, the social spaces are cocooned by tropical greenery and textured marble, creating a distinct ambiance indoors.
“This is a gardener’s house—a man intertwined with trees, cedar, maples, and breezy air. The house cannot contain him. The spaces transform into walls-less abodes. The garden, a blank canvas, was shaped by the client as a sculptor chisels a rough stone into a gem.”
The distribution strategy aimed at unity—each section of the program interconnected in a sequential flow. Suites cocooned occupants in tranquility, while living spaces seamlessly merged with the captivating pool area. The multi-level pool, adorned with exquisite materials and a transforming waterfall wall, serenaded inhabitants with the soothing melody of cascading water.
One notable exception is the living room, which elegantly morphs into a porch. Sculpted by Paulo Neves, it opens to offer a wine-tasting experience—an organic doorway to the outside garden.
Despite the house’s proximity to the sea, it had remained unseen—embodying the concept of “separation of realities.” This was mended with the creation of a suite with a balcony on the second floor, granting the dwelling a newfound proximity to the sea. As Ricardo Azevedo beautifully puts it: “From now on, the house glimpses the sea. The sea was close by, but couldn’t be seen. Now the boats that await at the Porto de Leixões form the backdrop of a glass wall that opens to the horizon.”
Architects: Ricardo Azevedo Arquitecto
Area: 940 m²
Photographs:Ivo Tavares Studio
Manufacturers: panoramah!®, Ayeme, Glass Media, Hormann, Top Marmi
Lead Architect: Ricardo Azevedo