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Bunker-like house blends seamlessly into the landscape

Redefining underground home

House with green roof built into side of hill. Joao Guimaraes

Like a bunker meets land art, this atmospheric residence in Monsaraz, Portugal, has an unusually intimate relationship with its surroundings. Designed by Lisbon-based architect Aires Mateus, the house is built into the side of a hill overlooking a lake.

It’s hard to make out the shape of the home because it blends in so seamlessly. The roof is disguised by dirt and greenery, interrupted only by three circular cut outs that serve as interior courtyards. Below, the single-floor underground house juts out of the hillside into a dramatically curved cantilever that looks like a piece of the house has been carved out of the land with a giant ice cream scoop.

Inside, the walls are clad in pale wood and the floor and ceiling echo the exterior with their brushed concrete. Furnishings are kept to a minimum, or put away in storage when not in use, as to not disturb the beauty of the structural form.

Curved concrete cantilever jutting out of side of hill. Joao Guimaraes
Open living space with cantilevering concrete canopy leading to outdoor space. Joao Guimaraes
Corridor with raw timber walls and concrete floor and ceiling. Joao Guimaraes
White, circular courtyard. Joao Guimaraes