Casa das Marinhas

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Like Portugal is ‘Europe's West Coast’, Esposende is a sort of portuguese Palm Springs because of the abundance of modernist-style houses. The glamour and scale of Palm Springs is lacking in the Northern city of Portugal, but it is a place where we can observe some of the best examples of Portuguese modernism, mixing international influences with the specificity of local architecture. For us, the building that best represents this modernist paradise is the Casa das Marinhas. Designed in 1954 by the architect Alfredo Viana de Lima, the house reflects a clear influence of Le Corbusier by the use of primary colors on the façade. Described by Viana de Lima as "the manor of modern times", the house conveys the concepts of modernity that the architect defended conjugated with characteristics of traditionalist constructions, such as the reconversion of an old mill as a body of the dwelling.

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The interior reminds us of the Eames House, built in California in 1949 by designers Charles & Ray Eames, for the fluidity of the ground floor. Here, modernist influences are particularly visible because of the concern to merge the various spaces which, subdivided by the presence of movable elements, will differentiate their respective uses, for cooking, living and dining.

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The use of materials such as wood on the shelves and movable panels and the traditional terracotta tiles add more layers of visual and tactile interest to this already brilliant house. Undoubtedly, a house to visit in the Modernist Architecture Tour of Esposende, not only for the historical sense, but also for the timeliness of the house for today.

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Photos by Público and OnRock