We were commissioned to design a modern one-floor villa on a plot near the sea in the parish of Madalena, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.

Title: Modern House in Gaia
Website: https://www.utopia-projectos.com
Construction period: 2017-2018
Purpose: Single Family Home
Total floor area: 380 m2
Plot area: 1080m2
Location: Rua Marinha 772, Vila Nova de Gaia
Client: Private Owner
Lead Architect & Author: Susana Barros Vilela
Design team: Ricardo Tedim Cruz José Almeida, Filipe Pinho
Architect company name: Utopia – Arquitectura e Engenharia Lda
Country: Portugal
Website: www.utopia-projectos.com
Photography Credits: Ricardo Ramos

Modern House in Gaia by Utopia - Arquitectura e Engenharia Lda - Sheet5
©Ricardo Ramos


Our design strategy was based on a mix between functionalism and minimalism. We believe that the form of a house should be determined by practical considerations such as use, material, and structure. But at the same time we consider that authentic modern architecture should have the minimal and exact elements needed to provide comfort to occupants.

Modern House in Gaia by Utopia - Arquitectura e Engenharia Lda - Sheet7
©Ricardo Ramos

Architectural Organization

Our strategy was therefore based on an design that allowed us to provide maximum privacy with biggest sun exposure to interior and exterior spaces. Nevertheless, we had to assure the necessary privacy in relation to those who were at the street level.

The main house building was therefore designed with an L shaped plan opened to the sun rays. This means we have a swimming pool embraced by an L shaped house building. All the pool facades have glazing surfaces, enjoying the patio activities.

The garage building appears as a recessed volume. This volume connects with the house through a covered path that assures comfortable and neat connection. Both volumes have a second patio between them.
The minimalist finishes appear throughout the living room and kitchen open space. Thus , the light colors of all materials give the house interior a cozy atmosphere. It therefore allows us to enjoy the sun and exterior views in comfort and privacy.

Modern House in Gaia by Utopia - Arquitectura e Engenharia Lda - Sheet9
©Ricardo Ramos


Passive energy was also key on our strategy. The use of the small horizontal brise-soleil allowed us to have a sustainable architecture solution. These structures shield the interiors from direct sunlight on summer, but at the same time, allow the winter radiation to heat the house without energy costs..


For the architects at Utopia design studio, elegant functionality is a must. Therefore, we design with thermal comfort, energy efficiency ans  sustainability in mind.  Low maintenance and surface optimization are also keys aspects to enjoy the beauty of minimalism.

In essence, superior functionality will enable us to comfortably enjoy the simple things in life like the summer sunset sunset or the winter sea breeze.


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