House in Afife: conceptual dichotomy.

_project: House in Afife
_architecture: Guilherme Machado Vaz
_location: Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Set against a captivating landscape, House in Afife is an exploration of contrasts, form, and the relationship between architecture and context. At a glance, one could describe the house as a playful origami-like structure. However, the architect and owner of the project, Guilherme Machado Vaz, steers away from this interpretation, focusing instead on the idea of 'volume'. "The house doesn't have a playful character but rather a desire to work the volume, which is almost cubic," he says. "The top, or fifth elevation, appears fragmented, in opposition to the regular base. It's about the drawing of the form and its relationship with typology."

The design process of the house brought unique challenges and advantages, given that Guilherme is both the architect and the owner. "Being both the designer and the owner allows me to create freely, without having to mediate my ideas with third parties," says Guilherme. "The challenge in this project lies in the capacity to remain attentive and to question and test our options as users, so that the process doesn't develop in an autistic way."

Conceptual dichotomy is a recurring theme in the design, as Guilherme explains: "The idea of contrast also appears conceptually in the relationship the house establishes with its surroundings. When the white shutters are closed, the windows disappear, and the house takes on an almost sculptural character." This duality extends to the interior as well, contrasting a pristine white exterior with a colorful interior featuring different materials and textures. "I believe that contrast is a strong theme in architecture that allows for enhancing the relationship between the building and its context, as well as its exterior and interior."

In the panorama of contemporary Portuguese architecture, Guilherme aspires for the House in Afife to stand the test of time. "I wish for the house to stay on the margins of fashion, which is always volatile and ephemeral," he says. "I aim for my work to have the everlasting and timeless character of the purest form, materialized by good construction." Guilherme believes his project is more in line with traditional Portuguese architecture than with the globally trending designs, concluding, "The House in Afife cannot escape being part of contemporary architecture, but I like to believe that it is closer to an architecture of Portuguese root, identity, and technique."

The House in Afife is a fascinating interplay of contrasts, exploring the relationship between the built form and its context, while challenging the norms of contemporary Portuguese architecture. It's an architectural experiment that successfully combines conceptual rigor with the personal touch of its creator.


_article written by Daniela Moreira Silva
_film by Building Pictures
_camera & post production by Sara Nunes
_sound design by Ana Pedro
_curatorship by Architecture Hunter
_cover image by Building Pictures
_image scroll by José Campos

_drawings by Guilherme Machado Vaz

1. Ground Floor Plan

2. First Floor Plan

3. North and East Elevation

4. South and West Elevation

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