Just one hour south of Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, lies a far less traveled destination – the small fishing village of Carrasqueira adjacent to the Sado River. The region is best known for its magnificent white sand beaches, local viticulture, fresh fish and wild life.
Here lies one of Comporta’s best kept secret escapes, Casas Na Areia. Designed by architect Manual Aires Mateus, the Casas Na Areia project was originally intended to be a summer home for owners Andreia and João Rodrigues. However, once the completed project was chosen to represent Portugal at the Venice Bienal of Architecture within its first year of completion, they knew it had a greater purpose and destiny to be shared.
The property features four separate structures that provide one cohesive living space – two units with a room and bathroom; one unit with two rooms and two bathrooms; and a common room with a dining table, sofa, and most notably – a white sand floor. Manual Aires Mateus’s mission was to bridge the exterior and interior in his design, evoking the relationship between internal and external worlds. In this way, Casas Na Areia – or translation – quite literally ‘Houses in the Sand‘ implies an extension of our natural environment.
Two of the units are constructed out of wood and reeds and two out of white concrete, each featuring intricately thatched roofs. António Pinela, a local artisan, crafted the roofs from material harvested on the banks of river Sado. Every six years, the reeds must be renewed and the roof rethatched.
Here at Casas Na Areia, time moves slowly. Moments are meant to be savored, and simplicity is relished through not only the beautiful architecture and design, but the pleasure of simply being.
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Photography: Nelson Garrido
Design: Manual Aires Mateus