In the heart of the village of Malveira da Serra, at the base of Serra de Sintra, in Portugal, architect Pedro Quintela has transformed an old rural residence into the ’embracing house’. Found in ruins, the confined U-shaped house with the small patio used for agricultural purposes, aroused an intimate call within the designer, who decided to purchase the property and breathe life into it.
Since the old dwelling had been left as a ‘pile of stones’, the cleaning phase was crucial for the development of the whole project. The architect always present and following every step of his team of five workers, to get to know the building more intimately, unveiling all its nooks and crannies. in addition, he was able to discover artefacts of the past, reinterpreting them in his work and giving them a new life.
Following a holistic approach, the architect has formed a specific structure with identity, beauty, truth and value. The rejuvenation of the dwelling is the result of the designer’s view of architecture as a process of evolution interconnected in three phases: adaptation; transformation and crystallization. Through this process, the new structure is an authentic piece of work, while still respecting ‘the spirit of place’. In the particular case of this intervention, it can be said that the once small, confused and very compartmentalized ‘house in the form of an embrace’, opened its arms to transform itself into a fluid, spacious, luminous and at the same time welcoming space.