“Sustainable, creative and functional architecture is inspired by the environment, thinking of man, inspired by the present, thinking of the future.” 

M Arquitectos

M-Arquitectos believes in contemporary and is a straightforward architectural design practice which evidently reflects in their projects discussed below. The architecture practising firm has three managing partners with architects and support staff. They are Portugal-based with their office in Ponta Delgada. 

1. Poça da Dona Beija Thermal Pools

Thermal spring pools is a revamped version of the existing one in Dona Beija designed by M-Arquitectos in 2015. The designed architecture preserves the complexities of contextual natural resources. The project is sited in one of the famous islands Azores of Portugal. The existing site was replaced with cryptomeria (Japanese cedarwood) for walkways and interiors as well. Hence the local materials approach is the way M-Arquitectos has united human intervention with the natural location. 

The project is spread linearly along the south wall. Enclosed spaces like ticket boxes, staff washroom, storage space, and gift shop are created out of cuboid spaces giving away a sense of twisted wooden boxes. The thermal springs include two pools, a tank, and a footbath connected with a long pathway. These pools are located north of the existing river. The designed architecture and planning merge with the surroundings, according to M-Arquitectos.

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Entrance reception of Poca da Dona Beija_source@Paulo Gaulart
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Thermal spring pools merges with the sorroundings_source@Paulo Gaulart
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Thermal pools along the river_source@Paulo Gaulart

2. Casa do Povo da Maia (House of people of Maia)

Casa do Povo da Maia Nursery is a proposed kindergarten in 2013 by the residents of Maia village, Ribeira Grande, Portugal. M-Arquitectos have designed a space for collective pieces of equipment that have been sustainably designed to consider the aspirations of constant urban growth. 

M-Arquitectos have been inspired by the old and local tobacco factories and their spatial profiles, which created the resultant Maia’s skyline. Hence the school is designed with similar volumetric variations but to respond to the functional needs. The overall spaces are created out of natural materials. Only a colourful courtyard floor patch adds playfulness to the space. 

M-Arquitectos have oriented the built form on a north-south axis to take maximum advantage of the solar light according to the geographical conditions of the village.

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The project takes volumetric references from the surrounding_source@Adria Goula

3. Casa Caloura (House in Caloura)

Casa Caloura is a privately owned residence in Lagoa, Portugal, designed by M-Arquitectos in 2012. The house is designed to catch sun exposure at its best. Hence the building sits on a slope creating two levels. The lower level or the semi-buried floor consists of technical areas like a garage and an area supporting the pool equipment. 

While the upper level is the prime residential area with common leisure spaces, a solarium and a private pool, all of which are interconnected through the gradual transition from enclosed to semi-open to open spaces. The open spaces face south which catches maximum daylight and uses solar light to lits up the confined spaces. The organic form of the house is inspired by the sloppy terrains of the context to adapt the physiognomy and pre characteristics of the farms, which helps the building to stand out, according to M-Arquitectos.

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Sun exposed pool of Casa Caloura_source@Adria Goula
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Garage entrance of Casa Caloura_source@ Adria Goula
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Casa Caloura, 2012 sitting on a gradual slop_source@ Adria Goula

4. Casa en Praia dos Santos (House in Praia dos Santos)

Casa en Praia dos Santos is a privately owned residential built-form by the sea in Ponta Delgada, Portugal, designed by M-Arquitectos in 2013. M-Arquitectos has created a contemporary design out of an existing old stone wall that remains the base of the residence rising above it. The form of the house takes advantage of the neighbourhood and the view of the sea. 

The outer façade sucks insides to create large openings which blur the inside-outside boundaries. The residential functions are split into two levels, where the lower level accommodates social areas, and the large swimming pool and the upper level accommodate private spaces like bedrooms. 

M-Arquitectos intends to exploit the building’s relationship with the environment through spatial form and through materials, textures, and straightforward design. The house is finished with locally available volcanic basalt stone in addition to long and clear glasses for the openings.  

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View towards the pool_source@Adria Goula
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Interiors blures into outside view_source@ Adria Goula
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Sea facing façade of Casa en Praia dos Santos_source@ Adria Goula

5. Bungalows sete cidades (Seven Cidades Lake Lodge)

Bungalows sete cidades are four independently standing wood cladding built forms that function as summer houses for lodging and a reception block connected with stone pathways. The project was designed by M-Arquitectos in 2014, located around a lake in the parish of Seven Cities of Portugal. The gabled roofs of the blocks are inspired by the traditional construction techniques of the Azores. But the blocks are designed in a way that the built forms look like a skewed cuboid. 

The volumes with contemporary characters are intentionally deformed to control light. Single block accommodates basic living facilities like a living room, equipped with kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom and attic for private leisure time. According to M-Arquitectos, the project provides function and fun in a peaceful location near the lake for a quick getaway. 

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Wood cladded Skewed blocking_source@httpwww.m-arquitectos.pt
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Seven Cidades Lake Lodge_source@httpwww.m-arquitectos.pt

6. Rosto da Cao House 

Rosto do Cao House sits over the smooth terrains of Ponta Deldaga, Portugal. The house is a privately owned residential built form designed by M-Arquitectos in 2014. To respect the existing topography of the region-Arquitectos have designed a single-storey house spread horizontally over the ground. The house is aligned along the East-west axis to see sunrise and sunset straight from the ground floor house. 

The house has four projecting volumes, which contain the primary functions like the master bedroom, an office, a kitchen and a laundry room. These programmatic boxes take advantage of diffused natural light from the north. M-Arquitectos have designed a house with a contemporary gabled roof, unlike a traditional gable roof found widely in the region. 

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Rosto da Cao house aligns east-west axis_source@httpwww.m-arquitectos.pt

7. House dos Peixes Falates (House of Talking Fish)

House dos Peixes Falantes is an adaptive reuse project of the existing building and old manor house with vernacular architectural attributes. The project functioned as a retreat stay in the rural area of Rabo de Peixe, Portugal, for solely tourism purposes, in 2015. M-Arquitectos intended to valorise the existing heritage with a fusion of traditional and contemporary design. 

The built-form includes three blocks arranged along and around a village street. Two blocks accommodate stay and other tourist facilities. But the Hermitage across the road is one of the significant spaces of the project, which houses dining or event space to enhance socialising among tourists. M-Arquitectos have merged the widespread built into the contextual canvas with the help of locally available materials like cryptomeria wood and basalt trimmed stone.

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The spaces encourage tourist gatherings_source@Paulo Gaulart
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House dos Peixes Falates include three blocks_source @Paulo Gaulart
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House dos Peixes Falates, 2015_source@Paulo Gaulart

8. Lar Residential

Lar Residencial opened in 2016 to provide permanent or temporary living space for people with disabilities in Ponta Delgada, Portugal. Lar residential is designed to accommodate unique facilities and offer a healthy and hopeful environment to the inhabitants by M-Arquitectos. The built-form sitting among the residential area on a square land with gradual sloped terrain. Hence the built-form is horizontally spread to merge with the contextual canvas. 

The box-like residential built-form defines the open as well the enclosed spaces with openings. The interior spaces dematerialise the sense of massive block as space aims to offer an emotional and affecting experience for inhabitants. The ground floor accommodates day rooms and social areas, which provide great usage possibilities and maximum sun exposure to decrease the distance between the disbelief and hope for the people.

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The grid façade to maintain privacy and allow view and light_source@Paulo Gaulart
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The interior spaces designed to create healthy environment_source@Paulo Gaulart
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Lar residencial, 2016_source@Paulo Gaulart

9. Pedras do Mar Recorrer and spa (Resort and spa)

Pedras do Mar Resort and Spa is a great retreat place at the northern shores of S. Miguel island designed by M-Arquitectos in 2016. The built-form is linear along the coasts to exploit better sea views in the north, and volcanic massif known as Lagoa do Fogo in the south. According to M-Arquitectos, the building should value the relationship with the landscape. 

The Resort incorporates local materials to sustain functional essence and construction quality. The building is a three-storey built-form consisting of 125 rooms. The interiors and the exteriors are protected from harsh weather, brutal winds and sunlight. The islands have four seasons in one day; hence local materials including cryptomeria wood and volcanic basalt stone suit climatically and territorially. 

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The night view of the building_source@Paulo Gaulart (1)
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Interior spaces of Pedras do Mar_source@Paulo Gaulart
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Pedras do Mar resort and spa, 2016_source@Paulo Gaulart

10. Pedreira do Campo Urban Planning (Quarry fields)

Pedreira do Campo, a place known for its fossil abundance and is treated as a natural monument. The location is often visited for scientific and educational environment purposes. A public pedestrian bridge was designed by M-Arquitectos in 2012 to provide visitors with a better look at the fossils. There are two pathways, one of which is close to the rocky grounds to merge with the site. The other one is a replacement of the existing wooden path as part of memory and identity. 

The designed bridge is made out of wood to merge with the natural diversity around it. The pathway ends at a termination point, acting as a fantastic view towards the sea. The wooden guardrails are to protect the visitors from the undulated site and provide a plane for infographics about the technicalities of the fossils underneath. The leaning of railings outwards acts as the display plane. Hence M-Arquitectos believes in urban planning, which takes advantage of the geographical site.

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The path terminates at a viewing point_source@Artur Silva
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Guardrailings are functional as well as artistic _source @Artur Silva
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Pedreira do Campo, 2012_source @httpwww.m-arquitectos.pt
Author

Drasti Patel is a recent graduate in Interior Design who believes design is a medium to simplify living mechanism. She grabs freedom in designing amidst the confinement of requirements. Her interest leans towards interpreting and representing man versus built environment relationship through the textual and visual medium. (Please find a photo in the attachment)

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