- Box XL Houses by Grupo Zegnea
Guimarães is a historical town with a population of about 160,000. It is located about 60 km north of Porto and connected by direct train service, making it a perfect day trip if you’ve chosen Porto for your summer holidays. It is considered the birthplace of Portugal because Afonso Henriques, who went on to be the first king of Portugal, was born here. Its long history is reflected in the variety of national monuments and historic buildings found in the town. Guimarães stands in a hillside setting.
The new Box XL Houses residential complex is located in the hills, not far from the town centre. This 4658-square-metre development was designed by Grupo Zegnea.
It is formed of seven geometrically designed buildings, each one arranged differently to set up new connections with the surrounding environment. The idea behind Box XL Houses was to achieve a harmonious balance between “built” and “natural” between “mass” and “void”, using these contrasting forces to create a peaceful, continuous connection, to their mutual advantage.
Grupo Zegnea based its concept for the project and the division of the lots on the idea of clear visibility, making sure the occupants of each house could enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding hills.
These sleek, box-like houses have been designed to blend in perfectly with their surroundings and the layout of the interiors also reflects these design choices. The garage, entrance and storage room are located on the lower level, accessed by a private road constructed for the development and connecting it to the town’s road network. The shared living, dining and kitchen areas and the bedrooms are located upstairs on a single level to make the most of the views.
The clarity and the pragmatism that Grupo Zegnea used in their design of these houses is also echoed in their construction decisions and in the materials they used. These bring out the fluidity of the space and its ongoing connection with the outdoors. The visual impact stands out elegantly on the outside too. The sequence of pure volumes, built using local materials, creates a counterpoint to the green spaces and the natural elements. Thanks to this dynamic tension, Box XL Houses becomes a virtuous example of how to craft new housing developments in backdrops of great environmental value. These houses have their own visual and material identity, which is, in any case, bold, but at the same time, they don’t seek to take over the landscape they have now become part of. This is also partly due to the stone retaining wall that underscores the continuity with the site, being to all intents and purposes an integral part of it.
Project: Grupo Zegnea
Location: Guimarães, Portugal
Images Joao Morgado - https://www.joaomorgado.com/