guilherme machado vaz takes influence from the early modernist movement with the afife house in northern portugal. the rural settlement on which the house is situated was first established at the foot of a hill, extending to the sea. the presence of a neighboring historic stone chapel served as a secondary influence to the design of the house, particularly with regard to the design of the volume, as the architect sought not to disturb the harmony of this religious space without being submissive to its presence. the volume, photographed by josé campos, faces away from the road and toward an artfully planned swimming pool in the rear yard.

video by building pictures



the compact white volume of the house by guilherme machado vaz evoke the typical architectural language of the region. as the project respects the gently sloping topography of the land, the building is subdivided sectionally into a cluster of half-levels. a central stair consolidates and organizes circulation throughout the interior and opens ultimately to the roof terrace overlooking the sweeping landscape. the formal and spatial characteristics emanate those of the early 20th century modernist, adolf loos, who prioritized a sectional richness of clustered interior volumes over an expressive, ornate facade.

guilherme machado vaz afife house
all images by josé campos



the minimalist facade serves as a shell, allowing small moments of connection between the interior and exterior through strategic punch-windows. these windows feature shutters which, when closed, transform the facade into an ‘anti-facade,’ cancelling the perception of an interior, suggesting a solid volume. when opened, the apertures reveal an interior whose materialities draw from those of the vernacular architecture of the area. the windows facing the chapel, through gilded carving, evoke an abstraction of the medieval religious triptych paintings. the floors of the ground level are made of terrazzo with brass joints, and the remaining levels have wood floors with open joints.

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project info:


architect: guilherme machado vaz

project name: afife house

location: afife, portugal

photography: josé campos

video direction & production: building pictures

camera & post-production: sara nunes

sound design: ana pedro

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