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House at Quinta da Marinha, Cascais, Portugal, by Areacor

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Areacor is a team of two architects in Portugal, Nuno De Sousa and  Sonia Picolo. The residential homes they create are building forms that are, in essence, natural. They reflect the client's need for comfort, serenity and beauty, obtaining maximum value for their client's resources. One fine example of that philosophy is the house they built at Quinta da Marinha, in a luxury residential area overlooking a golf course.

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As in most Mediterranean countries, the restrictions of the building rules were very decisive in the final design, as was the intention to have the best possible view of the neighboring golf course. The clients brief was of course the major factor. The solution was to break down the house into two separate volumes: the ground floor is the first volume, oriented towards the south, encompassing all the daily life areas, and the upper floor is the second volume, with an eastern direction, incorporating the bedrooms.

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One the one hand, the ground floor has a big glass wall, to allow maximum view of the golf course and the surrounding area. But on one side it is framed by a stone wall that cuts off the wind, making life around the outside pool pleasant. The kitchen, living room and dining room all are on the ground floor and have access to the garage below with an elevator. The master bedroom and bathroom is also situated on the ground floor and is separated from the rest of the house by a wall and water surrounding it. 

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The flat roofs of the house incorporate s system using water in a flat sheet that ensures harmonization of the temperature throughout the day. It also allows for use of rain water, making it possible to use it for irrigation, much needed in countries like Portugal. Having an inner courtyard on the upper floor also helps with climate control.

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The owners wanted an indoor pool as well, with a jacuzzi, sauna and Turkish bath as well. Having all the local restrictions to follow, the solution was to make that area in the basement and excavate the slope towards the north-west so that natural light could brighten up the interiors. It also allowed for a nice view to the gardens.

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Having all the major rooms facing north, the southern fa√ßade would be rendered uninteresting. So the architects used mirrored glass sheets behind randomly arranged steel tubes to give it some life and also allow for privacy, as the reflection from glass and steel does not allow anyone to peek inside the house. In the night, artificial LED lighting on the mirrored glass keeps up the effect.

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