lux mare houses by mário martins are 'two autonomous pieces that complement one another'

lux mare houses by mário martins are 'two autonomous pieces that complement one another'

in southern portugal’s algarve region, mário martins atelier has completed a pair of residences designed as ‘two autonomous pieces that complement one another’. referencing their coastal setting, the dwellings are known as the ‘lux mare’ houses — a term that translates as ‘light of the sea’. the project comprises two homes: ‘casa lux’, which takes advantage of the light it receives as a result of its hilltop location; and ‘casa mare’, which is built on a lower level — completely surrounded by vegetation.

all images © fernando guerra



‘the two new houses are supposed to be two individual parts of a set, two autonomous pieces that complement one another, two separate continents, where the contours clearly show the previous coexistence, or the union of two different people or an evocation of love through architecture,’ explains mário martins. ‘the slightly curved shapes suggest this connection, but the differences between them emphasize the individuality of each building.’



both houses are embedded into the natural terrain, and make no effort to draw attention to themselves. ‘the only thing that is clearly visible is the horizontal glazed frontages that provide a frame for the different views of the almost perfect symbiosis: the surrounding greenery, the steep cliff, the wide-open sea and the sky,’ the architect continues.

lux mare houses mario martins



a series of voids, found throughout the project, pay tribute to the work of finnish architect alvar aalto — particularly fitting as the client is nordic. ‘it is a quest for a symbiosis between the crudest architectural culture of the south and the elegance of northern european design, so that the house is both the origin and the destination,’ concludes mário martins. see other projects by the portugese architect on designboom here.

lux mare houses mario martins



project info:


name: lux mare houses
date: 2017 / 2019
location: lagos, portugal
architecture: mário martins
collaborations: nuno colaço; kirsti oygarden; rui duarte; sónia fialho; mariana franco
builder: lagopórtico, lda
photography: fernando guerra FG+SG

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