ARX portugal positions house in possanco on a triangular site ARX portugal positions house in possanco on a triangular site
oct 06, 2013

ARX portugal positions house in possanco on a triangular site

‘house in possanco’ by ARX portugal is a small vacation getaway positioned on a triangular lot in the region of alentejo, portugal. set between the area’s urban strip and protected agricultural zone of the village, the site offers views of the extensive plains and arrabida mountain ridge to the north, with the river sado running through, and the atlantic ocean in the distance defining the horizon to complete the tranquil setting. the owners wanted a piece of architecture that was contemporary in nature, but still fit in with the traditional architecture of the quarter.

the house is an abstract white mass
image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquitectura / all images courtesy of ARX portugal



in response, ARX portugal has envisioned a compact two-storey home that is expressed by a long, angular roof, the entirety of the volume painted in white, bringing about an abstract figure amidst the dry, natural landscape. because of the land restrictions, ARX had to overcome a number of challenges when developing the design. for example, though the most interesting views were towards the north, the windows would need to be placed facing south in order to maximize the sun’s brightness. however, this would mean that they would be directed towards the street, traffic and passers-by who could look inside, which the owners wanted to avoid.

image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquiectura



this issue ended up becoming the key feature of the house, resulting in the implementation of several patios — an architectural element which happens to be a paradigm of the dwellings in possanco — allowing ARX to maintain privacy, while still taking advantage of natural light. in total four terraces are integrated into the plan: a central courtyard, one in the living room, another in the social toilets and the last by the children’s room. all are situated north, guiding views towards the beautiful landscape, each of them resembling bluish excavations as they open upwards to the sky, further enhancing the abstract personality of the geometric mass.

back view
image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquiectura



in profile the building reaches the maximum height along the back wall at two floors, whereby the interior has been conceived as a double-garrett volume, with variations in scale and depth. as the roof angles downwards to the front wall, to the street facing side of the home stands at a minimum height of one floor so that to the passer-by, the structure is of a deformed perspective, with an axonometric projection. thus, the ‘house in possanco’ is an expressive white block which stands as a singular and surprising piece of architecture.

front south facing side of the house
image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquiectura

a large patio sits off of the living room creating a void
image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquiectura

the architecture frames views of the landscape beyond
image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquiectura

view of the living area from one of the patios
image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquiectura

living room
image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquiectura

angled profile
image © FG + SG – fotografia de arquiectura




project info:


location: herdade da comporta, possanco, alcácer do sal, portugal
project: 2006-07    
construction: 2008-09
architecture: ARX portugal, arquitectos lda., josé mateus, nuno mateus with stefano riva
team: stefano riva, paulo rocha
structural engineering: safre, projectos e estudos de engenharia lda.
photography: ARX portugal
gross construction surface: 250 sqm





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