The good news is: you’re building your dream
home on the steep slopes of a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley in Penafiel,
Portugal. The bad news? You’re building your dream home on the steep slopes of
a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley in Penafiel, Portugal. How many times
have we witnessed a beautiful building site essentially destroyed by the sheer ostentatious
enormity and lack of environmental aesthetics? Does building that mountaintop dream
home always require removing the top of the mountain?
Architect Alvaro Leite Siza didn’t think so. Siza didn’t move
mountains to create his compelling Tolo House. Quite the opposite. Siza let his
contemporary design become one with the
mountain by seamlessly integrating the dramatic design of the structure
with the dramatic slope of the mountain terrain. The bare concrete façade of
Tolo house blends with the natural rock. Its innovative use of interconnected
modules creates separate elevated levels, providing occupants with access to
the scenic outdoor spot. A hillside pool and garden area are connected by a footpath
and stairs integrated into the mountain.
The stark and low-profile exterior is contrasted by the
bright, minimalist interior living spaces. These spaces include curving and
floating staircases leading to three bedrooms, a living room, dining room and
kitchen and shared bath. The natural wood flooring and staircases warm up the
brilliant white walls. Large skylights flood the rooms with natural light from
the structure’s southern exposure.
A review of the blueprints shows no plans for an elevator,
tramway or human dumb waiters, so the aerobically-challenged would be well-advised
to consult their physician before attempting a visit to Tolo House.
What type of remodeling job are you interested in?