Two Houses in Ponte de Lima
The issue of housing, and in particular the single-family home, played a central role in the activity of Eduardo Souto de Moura for a considerable time. His work in shaping the domestic environment – adapting it to the conditions and variables dictated by brief, location and circumstance – has been a reference for several generations of architects.
I had the privilege of directly witnessing this work on three separate occasions. I have known Souto de Moura for many years, and have had the pleasure of living in three houses designed by him. In 1990, some friends and I challenged him to design a multi-family building in Rua do Teatro, Porto, in which I lived until 2002; in 2002, along with Rui Branco we built and lived in these two houses in Ponte de Lima, and since 2009 I have lived in one of his famous patio houses.
With the same initial brief, the two houses in Ponte de Lima were built on a plot with a very steep gradient, in complementary fashion. One, on the horizontal plane, appears to levitate, defying gravity; the other, as if it had already fallen, rests against the sloping terrain. With level sites available, the plots which give rise to this solution were suggested, to our surprise, by Souto de Moura himself. This choice was key to the materialisation of this unique project, so different to the dwellings which surround it.
The houses in Ponte de Lima were the first project to use Vitrocsa frames in Portugal, marking the beginning of a period of universally acknowledged architectural and commercial success.
Location Quinta de Anquião, Ponte de Lima, Portugal
Client Eng. Miguel Cerquinho, Eng. Rui Branco
Architecture Souto Moura Arquitectos Lda
Authors Eduardo Souto de Moura
Team Jorge Domingues, Joana Mira Corrêa, Ana Isabel, Joana Gaspar, Diogo Guimarães, Adriana Miranda, Joaquim Portela
Structural Engineering Lello & Associados
Electrical Engineering RGA
Mechanical Engineering Ventarco Lda
Structure Coelho Construtores
Finishings Empalme – Sociedade de Construções Lda