Lisbon-based architecture and design studio Atelier Data have completed work on a residential project in Portugal’s Algarve region, transforming a former family-run granary mill into a five-bedroom holiday home.
Casa Cabrita Moleiro (Cabrita Mill House) was once operated by the Cabrita family’s grandfather, who led a typical rural Algarve lifestyle. The region has since become a popular holiday destination, and the mill stood unused. The site was composed of a series of traditional rural dwellings: a small house; a wind well for milling wheat; a threshing floor to harvest grain; and a small curral for livestock. Atelier Data, driven by the desire to repurpose the existing structures, integrated them into the new design, creating a series of interior and exterior spaces that celebrate the surrounding landscape, while providing a series of private areas.
The design has been inspired by the local vernacular. ‘Açoteia Algarvia’, a flat rooftop feature for observing the sea and drying produce in the sun, has been reinterpreted and introduced on the new structures. A series of geometric volumes and carved-out voids provide private patios to the bedrooms, while windows, balconies and terraces strategically frame views to the surrounding arid landscape and the Atlantic Ocean.
The kitchen, living room and swimming pool make up the core social area of the house, off which a series of private areas are distributed. Three en-suite bedrooms are located in the first building volume that is offset from the former exterior wall of the miller’s house, forming a sequence of outdoor courtyards that provide private exterior spaces. Above, a rooftop terrace with a shared jacuzzi takes total advantage of the privileged view over the sea. Two more en-suite bedrooms form a second volume that stands out due to its geometry, with undisturbed views towards the sea.
At the building core, an exterior patio from which the different areas and volumes are distributed. This patio consists of local plant species and rocks that contribute to a cool environment to deal with the region’s hot climate. This space also acts as a ‘home divider’, enabling it to act as a five-bedroom holiday house or a two-bedroom one with a separate three-bedroom annexe.
“ Casa Cabrita Moleiro is a flexible living space that can accommodate various possibilities of use and sharing, ” say the architects.
The refurbishment features elements and materials that have been locally sourced, are recycled, or have been left exposed. Together, they contribute to the house’s contemporary, minimal, rural character. The architects prioritised an authentic aesthetic that is true to the rural nature of the site. This includes the use of rail track reclaimed wood, laid out in a playful pattern on the patio pavement, combined with small pebbles. The doors throughout are made of wooden strips assembled vertically and painted white, while the structural concrete ceilings cast onsite have been left bare, painted white. The polished concrete floors further contribute to a minimalist interior.
Text provided by the architect