Casa Barreiro, a remarkable home envisioned by renowned architect Manuel Aires Mateus, stands as a captivating off-white oasis amidst the bustling urban landscape.
The project breathes new life into two old warehouses, seamlessly uniting them to form a singular space. From the outside, the remnants of the past are carefully preserved, allowing the structure to retain its captivating ruinous appearance. However, stepping inside reveals an entirely different experience—a luminous white expanse awaits, enveloping visitors in an atmosphere of brightness and tranquility. This ethereal house is created by the walls that enclose it, showcasing a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Two thoughtfully designed gardens further enhance the connection between the interior and exterior realms. Within the double-height interior, a central space captures attention, housing two blocks of stairs that elegantly guide inhabitants throughout the dwelling. The architectural focal point is an archetypal volume that gracefully occupies the area beneath a ceiling molded by the negative space of the rooftop pool. This interplay between the house, the pool volume, and the existing walls defines the unique character of the residence.
The story behind Casa Barreiro is as captivating as the architecture itself. The owner's initial desire was to have Manuel Aires Mateus create a new house in a nearby location, where a 3-floor building from the early 20th century stood. A fortuitous turn of events presented an opportunity to acquire not one, but two warehouses—an arduous process that took a year to complete due to complex negotiations with heirs. It was during this time that the owner reached out to Manuel, expressing both excitement and trepidation, as a preliminary sketch of the envisioned house already existed. However, Manuel embraced the concept wholeheartedly, immediately captivated by the potential presented by the warehouses.
Over the course of more than a decade, a transformative journey unfolded—an intricate tapestry woven from bureaucratic, creative, and constructive endeavors. It is worth noting that, at the project's inception, the entire area suffered from profound decay, making the idea of constructing a new house alongside a renowned architect seem audacious. Yet, driven by unwavering trust in Manuel Aires Mateus's expertise, the owner placed no constraints on his creative freedom, save for a desire to incorporate a swimming pool—a simple request that fueled the architect's boundless imagination.