House in Serra de Janeanes by João Branco


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Portuguese architect João Branco has converted an old farm traditional complex to an relaxing weekend retreat house for a four generation family in Serra de Janeanes, Portugal.
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The access area of the site is a welcoming space that the existing buildings and stone walls convert in a shady location. As you course along westward, the slope to reach the highest part of the garden is considerable. At this point, stripped of limits, the distant mountains are the only horizon. The starting point on the design of this House in Serra de Janeanes was to create an unmistakable contemporary architecture following traditional values, where stone is the protagonist in this project where ancient ruines receive a new inhabitable space.
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Following these premises, the new house is projected using the rustic stonewalls of the existent agricultural complex and covered by traditional clay-tile roof. The project follows two main performances: creating a new longitudinal axis across different existing buildings as a kind of corridor that join the spaces, and opening two new patios that provide natural light into the deepest parts of the house. Then, the usual program of a single-family house (living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms) is organised, with the addition of a library.

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House en Serra de Janeanes is a convertion of an old farm traditional complex to an relaxing weekend retreat house designed by Portuguese architect João Branco. 

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The ground floor of the house was carefully disposed in order to adjust to the mountainous terrain, following the slope of the land with North orientation and dividing the house into four different zones, where the main areas are occupying the old corrals. The living area – the largest and most important room of the house – featuring a double-height ceiling with exposed stonewalls and a combined stove and seating area, creating an unexpected contrast between the new materials and the rough brutality of the stonewalls. Here, contemporary and traditional values are perfectly merged, dictating the conceptual rule behind this renovation.

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Furthermore, the mezzanine floor, accessed by an staircase positioned in the dining area, and used as a library, is covered by wooden floors, surfaces and furniture. A long desk runs along one side as a kind of parapet, creating a balcony space overlooking the living room.
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Five bedrooms and two bathroom are arranged in two separated groups, positioned at opposite ends of the house. Each one of them has a direct access to one of two new courtyards. The main dining room and kitchen sit alongside one another in one corner of the building. The work is completed with an exterior dining area and a swimming pool located near the existing barn floor at the upper part of the land, taking advantage of the best views towards the distant mountains and most advantageous sun exposure.
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Photography is by Do Mal o Menos