- Paradinha, dispersed hospitality designed by Summary
But let’s take a look at the project in chronological order. The client, Syntony Hotels, specialised in stays for nature and outdoors enthusiasts, had purchased a piece of land in the small village of Paradinha, 80 km southwest of Porto. A truly remote location in a small valley next to the Paiva River, the least polluted river in Portugal. The old houses are characterised by schist and slate, giving this place a special atmosphere, with many traces of past traditions featuring mills, millstones, oxcarts and various agricultural tools.
The roughness and remoteness of the site are precisely its virtue, but at the same time also its limit, as from the very beginning it was clear, as Samuel Gonçalves explains, that "it would be difficult (and extremely expensive) to assemble construction yards for a traditional building. Thus, in this case, resorting to prefabricated structures was not just a choice, but the only efficient option we had to simplify the building process within such conditions."
In addition, this challenge led the client to rethink the concept of the new accommodation facility. Initially, the plan was to distribute rooms across the site. A rather impractical approach, as they would have been lacking the comforts that only a complete house can offer, including an equipped kitchen. Hence Summary’s proposal to build small houses, so that some of them could be used not only as accommodation units for the limited time of a holiday, but also as full-time houses. As Architect Samuel Gonçalves tells us: "Mixing these two different programmes (tourism + housing) we ensure that this complex will not have a seasonal occupation, being inhabited during the whole year and not just during the vacation period. This multifunctional approach promotes the intensity of this complex’s occupation, therefore fostering its frequent maintenance and improving the security of the area", as this is managed over long periods.
The project consists of eleven small houses built using the Gomos construction system with wood finishes. There are four different types, ranging from 28 to 58 square metres. The cabins are distributed over the area according to the natural configuration of the terrain, altering the natural landscape in which they are inserted as little as possible. Thus, the old stone walls and existing trees were preserved and the houses were carefully positioned around them. The combination of this seemingly arbitrary positioning with different orientations in fact allowed the houses not to block each other's view. From the balconies, behind the wooden slats, the forest and, in some cases, even the river can be seen. The sobriety of the interiors, conceived with design and comfort in mind using furnishings and details all made in Portugal, goes hand in hand with the minimalism of the architecture. In each cabin, the technical services (water, electricity, air conditioning) are concentrated in a standardised module, which accelerated the time required for the assembly process.
The Syntony complex is completed with the reception, a swimming pool and the common barbecue area, for a vacation deeply immersed in the local nature of this place.
Location: Paradinha (Alvarenga), Portugal
Images: Fernando Guerra FG+SG