dewi vaughan jones has devloped the ‘corkshack marvão’ ecolodges in an area of outstanding natural beauty in portugal‘s alto alentejo region. the aim of the project was to create a tranquil environment, providing guests with the ideal opportunity to relax and unwind. the lodges themselves are a modern reconstruction of pre-historic roundhouses (choças), which served as the dwellings of iron age inhabitants more than two thousand years ago. constructed using ecological materials and with the addition of modern luxury comforts, the corkshacks provide the perfect setting for a peaceful vacation. 

dewi vaughan jones's 'corkshack' ecolodges reinterpret traditional portuguese roundhouses designboom
all images courtesy of dewi vaughan jones



in the municipality of marvão, many roundhouses still exist today and some were still inhabited by families up until the last century. now, most of them are in a state of ruin and have been abandoned or are used as storage for crops and to keep animals. they are round dry-stone walled buildings, which have no foundations and were erected on a flat surface of granite rock. the architecture is characterized by the conical thatched roofs, which were made from wooden beams.

dewi vaughan jones's 'corkshack' ecolodges reinterpret traditional portuguese roundhouses designboom
exterior view of two of the corkshacks



a perfect space for two, each corkshack has been designed as a 6.5m diameter decagon with the exterior walls covered in 100% cork from the company amorim isolamentos – the world’s largest producer of cork products. like the traditional buildings, the new corkshacks also have a natural thatched roof. the spaces also benefit from a private 5x4m wooden deck for guests to enjoy a connection to the outdoors. in essence, the corkshack marvão ecolodges offer a unique place for a vacation and an ideal opportunity for people to stay in an unusual dwelling, linked to the past.

dewi vaughan jones's 'corkshack' ecolodges reinterpret traditional portuguese roundhouses designboom
detail of the thatched roof

dewi vaughan jones's 'corkshack' ecolodges reinterpret traditional portuguese roundhouses designboom
interior view

dewi vaughan jones's 'corkshack' ecolodges reinterpret traditional portuguese roundhouses designboom

concept illustration

dewi vaughan jones's 'corkshack' ecolodges reinterpret traditional portuguese roundhouses designboom

the corkshack plan and elevation



project info:


project name: ‘corkshack marvão ecolodges’

location: marvão, alentejo, portugal.

design concept: dewi vaughan jones

planning and engineering: josé calha

construction: francisco batista vivas

specific technical advice: amorim isolamentos


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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