Located in Alfama, Portugal near the Monastery of St Vincent de Fora is the minimalist residence, House in Alfama by Portuguese architects, Matos Gameiro Arquitectos. The design of House in Alfama involves the rehabilitation of one of the buildings that is located along the edge of neighbourhood, which is a rare mediaeval building in the area. The minimalist residence is designed from the break-up of an existing larger palace complex. The occupation of this smaller resulting building had gradually led to the constructions of brand new walls that define the various interior subdivisions, which finally results in a house with two courtyard spaces.
House in Alfama is a minimalist residence that features a symbiotic relationship between its interior and exterior spaces
This layout of the House in Alfama places an emphasis on the internal argument of the complex which reinforces its inner meaning. If the courtyards determine the layout of the residence, then the spaces in between them form of the focus of the building’s program. This program has resulted in four distinct outdoor spaces that are inspired with various narrow, sheltered spaces. As a whole, the stark and simple appearance of House in Alfama, evokes an image of a ruin, which suggests monumentality and contention, with the calm and serene atmosphere of monastic cells. Pleasure is also evoked, as the courtyards readapt themselves as outdoor spaces, stripped of any function.