Casa na Terra. A nearly invisible home

This hidden summer house by Portuguese Star architect Aires Mateus near Monsaraz is the answer to natural coolness and minimal fuzz for a summer house in walking distance to lake Alqueva.

When you enter the rather rough, not lush terrain overlooking the brownish fields (we visited in August) till your eye discovers lake Aqueva, you might not find the entrance easily as it goes down a narrow staircase into the ground.

The minute you enter the house which is partly buried beneath the ground, you will find a clear structured interior that leads you through clean corridors towards the kitchen or living room which surprises you with a large panorama door onto a terrace made of concrete and natural.

The courtyard is protected by its cocoon like shaped roof and acts almost like a shelter against the hot sun during the summer or the harsh winds that blow over the Alentejo region in autumn.

The courtyard is the heart of the house where also the living space kitchen is opening towards. You want to live outside. Each of the three bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms have access to round patios covered in white stones and tiles that cool off the heat at night.

The materials of Aires Mateus summer house feel just right. The natural stones on the terrace reflect the roughness of the land. The white, shiny tiles in the circular courtyards work almost like a natural air conditioning. Wooden ceilings and walls give warmth to the concrete floor and even the rough nature of burned ochre and brownish gras on the fields seem to reflect the golden sunlight from just the right angle. Especially when the animal herds come to drink water during sunset.

You can spend your days on the terrace reading books, walking to the lake for a swim or go to the lakes Nautico Club for some water-skiing. At night enjoy the midieval town Monsaraz with many fine restaurants, overlooking the Alentejo.


The house can be rented via and includes daily homemade breakfast and house care. For more information visit