It was important to design a house without destroying the magnificent landscape of the Douro , world patrimony. We conceived a house completely integrated in the existing cultivated slope. All the rooms have their views directed to the river except the kitchen and the hall that connect to two courtyards. The roof is covered with grass, making the house almost invisible. In the region of Douro, world patrimony by UNESCO, everything stays the same…well.
The importance of materials in ecological construction
We designed this house with trying to use traditional materials from the Douro region. That’s why we favor shale and land. In this sense, the entire exterior has only these two materials. This means huge CO2 savings, as all the material used was on site. We carved the house out of the rock and the rock itself provided us with the walls. The land we displace is precisely the land we use for coverage.
The thermal inertia in the ecological house
The Douro region has very high temperatures during the day and a sharp cooling at night in the summer. In winter, air temperatures drop to temperatures close to zero, but deep underground does not. This means that there is the ability to take advantage of thermal inertia to passively air condition the house. That’s what we’ve done in this house. The house is dug into the ground precisely to take advantage of this free energy in winter and summer.