The São Roque house is located in Madeira on a piece of land that, like the island itself, is rather steep. Despite the precipitous slope, there were benefits to building on such terrain, such as being able to take advantage of the scenery … and see the houses run hastily down the slopes below and stretch into the sea! As for this house… it takes advantage of everything: the project design, urban planning regulations, the terrain and landscape, encroaching on both heaven and earth, and looking unashamedly over everything surrounding it.
Whoever approaches from the street above notices the interspersed, rhythmic fence revealing the architectural object behind it. The three-storey house looks aloof with its spyglass turned towards the distant surroundings. The dark grey body, broken and snaking across the terrain, reveals itself impartially. Whoever accesses the grounds faces a Zen courtyard leading to the house at the basement level and open-air parking that provides an outdoor green extension to the home’s reception area. The interior was conceived through a continuous visual interplay, creating different sensations via spatial appropriation. Implementation of the idea occurred through careful attention to detail – spaces, spatial succession, materials, fixed furniture, the interior/exterior relationship – everything comes together in perfect harmony, and architecture and sculpture intertwine: sculptures that enhance architecture, architecture that sculpts the house in filled and empty spaces, shadow and light, reflections and transparencies. In this way, the sculptural shell that protects the living areas is torn into triangulations that illuminate the interior space, adding a strong imprint and plasticity to the constructed volume.
In volumetric terms, the house huddles on the ground at basement level, opening a tiny crater that shapes the inner courtyard that extends and illuminates it through the patio, tearing and shaping the void, the “missing volume” that interrupts and duplicates the home’s continuity on the upper two floors. Like a ductile object, the house allows itself to be twisted, fragmenting into different, articulated, constructed volumes that gradually dematerialize into the slats that shape and confine the balconies suspended over the entrance courtyard. As for the epidermal treatment of the building’s volume/form, dematerialization was achieved by introducing an optical illusion created by reflections of the sky (clouds, sun, rain) in the glass tears that, in chameleonic fashion, reflect the exterior, the corporeal mass ceasing to exist. During the day, the sky penetrates the building through the changing reflections, and like a sundial, announces the passage of time’s ephemerality. At night, the interplay of interior lights highlights and denotes the twisted and torn body that, from time to time, is invaded by human presence.
Sculpturally, the interior staircase, comprised of small floating fragments, exists independently of the floors, reaching the skylight that permits a visual connection with the sky. Then the glass slides away and the house opens vertically onto the outdoors, and the “non-floor” of the terrace allows the taking of a deep breath, and the house appropriates all of the surrounding space. Inside, all of the divisions (common rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen) were designed as unique pieces. In each of them, all of the furniture that shapes the spaces and small sculptural details emerge like little pieces of art that animate the house on its own. The house can exist like this, the spaces/light and the light of the spaces are already full of life.