From a certain perspective you can’t even see it, but ever since the world discovered it, it hasn’t stopped getting attention. Casa na Terra (which means House on Earth) was designed by architect Manuel Aires Mateus to merge with the landscape of Monsaraz – it is half buried and covered with vegetation, a kind of futuristic cave that was chosen as the building of the year 2020 by the site Arch Daily.
Aires Mateus designed it as a private home, but it is possible to sleep in his concrete refuge through Silent Living – the same company behind Casa no Tempo, Casas na Areia and Cabanas no Rio, equally available to book and all with the architect’s finger.
Dating is long, but here it can be said that it has been taken – or descended – to another level. Built by the Alqueva lake, the underground house takes advantage of a slope of the land, such that the only element that has in sight is a courtyard with a dome. Through a staircase one descends to the three bedrooms, buried but illuminated by small circular courtyards painted white – authentic wells of light when viewed from above. The kitchen and living room give to the only apex unearthed, where such a dome structure assumes itself as the heart of the house and opens to the water.
Nature is the one who commands the most, and even the décor knows it. In the architect’s sober record, the environment is minimal, with a large dining table, contiguous to the kitchen island, massive wooden doors and cabinet handles that – plus an original detail – are not traditional handles, but cords.