Jutta Hoehn

Architecture is a constantly evolving art…..or science, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Algarve.

The area has become increasingly popular for Northern Europeans to spend holidays and build holiday homes.

Initially, these homes were typically built in the Portuguese style, with the Algarvian “twist” having a noticeable Moorish influence. i.e. round towers, white stucco, terracotta floor tiles, etc..

As time went by, a more international influence became apparent, with resorts such as Quinta do Lago and Vale do Lobo. Leading the way in providing contemporary houses and more recently “super villas”….. colossal glass and steel houses with outstanding facilities such as cinemas, gyms and steam rooms, multi-car garages, etc.

However, there remains merit in respecting historical influences and producing careful design features used for their original purposes.

SLN17 03 The design of the entrance to a house is key to setting the tone of the whole property. Oversized and intricately decorated double doors hint at what is inside, while a spectacular view through the house gives a sense of drama on arrival.

12A 1099 1. This custom-designed and beautifully detailed “muxarabi” is a modern version of a Moorish screen and was traditionally used to give a degree of privacy while allowing views out of the house and producing beautifully patterned sunlight within.

Exterior 9 has a similar purpose but was originally hand-made of local clay and glazed in the hot sun.

Exterior 16 and 17. Used over a greater area, this modern usage is to soften and give privacy to modern glass screens behind.

Exterior 20. An additional purpose is a rather mundane use of reducing road noise, being the first screen in front of the front wall of the building while giving a sense of privacy and beauty.

As sophisticated buyers in Portugal seek more quality, there is a growing appreciation for respecting the country’s past and culture.