hotel feelviana by carlos castanheira negotiates the terrain of coastal portugal

hotel feelviana by carlos castanheira negotiates the terrain of coastal portugal

portuguese architect carlos castanheira has designed a coastal hotel in a remote part northern portugal. the scheme seeks to bring new life and activity to the town of viana do castelo, a beach community which has historically offered a range of leisure activities. surrounded by sand dunes, pine trees, and abundant vegetation, the project seeks to become part of its context by both protecting and promoting the natural landscape. ‘the location is, and must be kept, sustainable,’ says the architect. ‘sustainable in terms of ecology, urban planning, lifestyles and economic activity.’

all images by fernando guerra – FG+SG



the beach’s sand dunes serve as protective barriers and also delineate the terrain, establishing a frontier between the hinterland and the atlantic ocean. responding to the site’s specific location, carlos castanheira sought to challenge preconceived ideas of what a ‘hotel’ is. ‘the word, hotel, is not always connected to a positive intervention,’ castanheira explains. ‘for many years, and even today, the term is associated to a large building with many rooms, with a strong volumetric presence and hordes of people entering and leaving.’



instead, hotel feelviana has been designed as a communal ‘place of tranquility’. guests are encouraged to arrive at the hotel on foot, accessing the property via the main entrance. the site’s largest building, a linear structure, contains technical and administrative services, as well as a restaurant, a bar, and a large terrace. importantly, the social and meeting spaces for guests rest upon the sand dune itself, making it possible to gaze out to sea and enjoy the sunset.



rather than conventional hotel rooms, a series of small dwellings have been distributed between the pine trees. meanwhile, further south, a line of apartments has been erected on the dune, thereby solidifying and preserving it. natural materials have been used throughout: locally sourced wood has been adapted to fit the terrain, while copper-sheet roof coverings lend the scheme a natural coloring that will evolve over time to blend with the landscape.



project info:


name: hotel feelviana
location: praia do cabedelo, viana do castelo, portugal
dates: 2014-2017
architect: carlos castanheira
office: CC&CB – architects, lda
project coordinator: orlando sousa
collaborators: joana soeiro, fernanda sá, sofia conceição, diogo pinho, susana oliveira, sara pinto, mariana mendes, erika musci, germano viera, pedro afonso
engineering: sprenplan
construction company: vodul
wood construction: PORTILAME
total building area: 3,000 sqm
photography: fernando guerra – FG+SG

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