A Harmonious Blend of Privacy and Transparency

Nestled in the picturesque town of Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, the Madalena House stands as a testament to architectural ingenuity. Designed by the esteemed firm Paulo Martins Arquitectura, this residential gem seamlessly marries form and function, creating a harmonious living space that balances privacy with openness.

House Madalena by Paulo Martins
House Madalena by Paulo Martins. Photography by Ivo Tavares.

A Visual Barrier: Composed of Overlapping Pure Volumes

The Madalena House is an ensemble of pure volumes, each carefully positioned to achieve a delicate equilibrium. Its primary objective? To create a visual barrier between the interior living spaces and the bustling street outside. Privacy becomes paramount, and the architecture responds accordingly.

The Initial Impression: Marking the Entrance

Approaching the Madalena House, one encounters an intriguing interplay of light and shadow. The upper volume boldly marks the entrance, emphasizing its significance. A slender gap, like a secret beckoning, pierces the otherwise opaque barrier. This subtle invitation encourages visitors to venture beyond, hinting at the depth of the plot and the house itself. The intention is clear: impermeability.

Revelation Beyond the Barrier: Fluidity and Connection

Once past the initial threshold, the Madalena House reveals its true character. Contrary to its outward appearance, it unfolds into a wide and fluid space with a meticulously defined program. Social areas extend seamlessly to the outdoors through expansive glass spans. These openings serve a dual purpose: they promote interaction between the interior and the exterior while maintaining the privacy of the master suite through the creation of an intimate patio.

The Upper Floor: Privacy and Protection

Ascending to the upper floor, occupants encounter a loose and hermetic volume. Here, two suites and an office find their place. These private spaces are cleverly shielded by private patios carved into the volume. Not only do these patios guarantee privacy, but they also shield the glazed areas from direct radiation. The result? A serene retreat where light filters gently, and tranquility prevails.

The Madalena House exemplifies the delicate balance between seclusion and transparency. It invites us to explore beyond the surface, to discover the interplay of volumes, and appreciate the thoughtful design choices that elevate everyday living. As the sun sets over Vila Nova de Gaia, the Madalena House stands as a testament to architectural vision—a sanctuary where privacy and connection coexist in perfect harmony.

All images © by Ivo Tavares.