This house is located on a rustic setting where dense vegetation predominates and smaller buildings can be found, scattered across the land.

The house, located within winding hills all around, was built upon pre-existent construction, abandoned long time ago, which never had the ambition to rise above and contemplate the hill tops or the landscape, mainly untouched by men. This new house, however, has its eye on the horizon.

Project Name: House in Baião, Porto
Office Name: Traço Alternativo Arquitectos Associados
Office Website:
Firm Location: Porto, Portugal
Completion Year: 2021
Gross Built Area (m2/ ft2): 243m²
Project location: Baião, Porto, Portugal
Program: Residential
Lead Architects: Nuno Campos
Photo Credits: FG+SG fotografia de arquitectura | architectural photography

House in Baião, Porto by Traço Alternativo - Sheet5
©Fernando Guerra

Our ambition was to incorporate the new construction (which will be used as a vacation house) into the land’s morphology, building it in slopes, while preserving the memory of the preexisting house.

The solution found intends to be the exception among the other constructions, but in a subtle way, where nature and man-built construction coexist in perfect balance.

Since the beginning of the project, it was important to use natural materials, that would appeal to the senses and to the tradition.

House in Baião, Porto by Traço Alternativo - Sheet
©Fernando Guerra

The use of wood was heavily used in its surroundings (especially in “espigueiros”, a typical Portuguese construction used to store grains) and it inspired us with its simple yet raw beauty.

It became the chosen material for both structure and coverings, for both the inside and outside of the house, creating its own language that does not stop on its conventional uses, but also creates its own poetry, innovating and mesmerizing.

On the ground floor, the kitchen and the living room open fully to the garden through big sliding glass windows, where a wooden “espigueiro” lays, interacting with the house’s upper volume language, where the bedrooms are. This volume, all built in wood, was preassembled at the carpentry workshop, worked to pure perfection, disassembled and reassembled at the construction site in record time, as if they were Lego pieces, fitting together like a symphony.

House in Baião, Porto by Traço Alternativo - Sheet7
©Fernando Guerra

Outside, the delicacy and warmth of the wood on the upper floor contrasts sharply with the raw and cold appearance of the concrete walls on the ground floor. Sturdiness and elegance where the main concepts for this house.

Inside the house every wooden detail was carefully planned, every joint was perfectly matched, and the wood’s natural twists and turns are the only thing breaking that man made rigidity with its expressive anarchy. In the ceilings the wooden structure creates a strange feeling of comfort, order and peace.

House in Baião, Porto by Traço Alternativo - Sheet10
©Fernando Guerra

In the end, despite the clearly contemporary design, the house fully responds to the client’s imaginary, becoming the wooden refuge, with which he always dreamt.


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