Casa AA by Filipe Vilas-Boas: a composition of white blocks defines this contemporary family home in Portugal

Casa AA perched on a hill overlooking the town. photographed during the day
Perched on a hill overlooking the northern Portuguese town of Guimarães, Casa AA's clean and contemporary design sets it apart from its natural surroundings. Photography: Joao Morgado
(Image credit: Joao Morgado)

The stark cluster of blocks that forms Casa AA sits atop a hill overlooking the northern Portuguese town of Guimarães and the surrounding Douro mountain range. Built for a family of four and designed by local architect Filipe Vilas-Boas, the house's clean, white-washed walls make for a striking contrast with its rocky setting.

An interactive floor plan of the ground floor in Casa AA

(Image credit: TBC)

The project is located in the client's family estate, which stretches over 120 hectares on a hill famous for its terraced vineyards, known locally as Monte Cavalinho. The site is carefully sculpted into the slope and sits a few metres away from exposed granite rocks, a detail that captures the southern sun, while at the same time lending remarkable views to the landscape.

On the opposite side of the residence, a swimming pool and timber terrace mediate between the house and a steep cliff. Following the hill's natural topography, the building is defined by its distinct cubic elements, organised according to a clear internal program. 

Arranged around the site's multiple views, the house spans two levels, connected by a double height space. The lower floor - containing the garage, service, utility and machinery rooms - is the entrance level. The top floor comprises the main living area, including four en-suite bedrooms, an office, kitchen, and the dining and living rooms. 

The interior spaces are bright and spacious thanks to large glass planes looking out towards the different views. Timber is used throughout for the communal spaces, wet rooms are clad in stone, while carpet provides a softer touch in the bedrooms. As is typical in Portugal, white surfaces prevail across both the exterior and interiors.

Vilas-Boas has created a house that features a playful, contemporary design that both references traditional Portuguese styles and creates a dialogue with its surroundings. The structure is intrinsically linked to the client's personal memories - Casa AA is located a mere 200m away from the family home where the owner, a local entrepreneur, grew up.

A white house perched on a mountain with a blue skies in the background photographed during the day

Designed and built for a family of four by local architect Filipe Vilas-Boas, the house features white-washed walls that form a counterpoint to the rocky terrain

(Image credit: TBC)

An exterior section of the house with white walls and large clear glass panes. Through the glass panes, the white staircase inside the house is visible

Clean-cut lines characterise the exterior and interior throughout, with large glass panes being a key feature of the design

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The lounge view of the house, featuring cream L shaped sofa with matched cushions and a brown center rug. Behind the sofa is a white dining table set. The room features white walls, white ceiling and floor to ceiling clear glass panes.

Inside, the main living area boasts a bright and spacious area, aided by panoramic floor-to-ceilings windows

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Dining section of the house featuring white and brown dining table and chair set, with a cream center rug. Brown cabinet and two big black flower pots with green plants next to a white wall.

The dining space effuses contemporary minimalism

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A walk way next to floor to ceiling clear glass panels with white ceilings and oak flooring.

The house is carefully sculpted into the slope, nestled among exposed granite rocks

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Dining and Kitchen space featuring white walls, white ceiling, brown flooring and floor to ceiling clear glass panel windows. A brown dining table (laid with a bowl of fruits) with white chairs with a white island on the end. White kitchen cabinets and white ceiling lamp

The kitchen and informal dining space exemplifies Casa AA's predominantly contemporary design while echoing traditional Portuguese styles

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A bedroom with white walls, white ceiling and grey carpet. Brown chest of drawer positioned against the wall . A double bed with brown headboard, 3 white pillow cases and brown blanket

Carpet provides a softer touch in the bedrooms

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Bathroom featuring white walls and ceiling with brown cabinets and two white sinks with taps below a large wall mirror. His and hers white toilets

Timber is used throughout for the communal spaces, while wet rooms are clad in stone

(Image credit: TBC)

An office space with Large glass pane doors on the right, white ceilings, white walls and oak flooring. A white chair, with a glass topped desk and a silver table lamp

The home includes a living area, an office space, kitchen, dining and living room and four bedrooms connected to en-suites by large glass pane doors

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A view of the swimming pool from the inside through clear glass floor to ceiling panes

A swimming pool and timber terrace mediate between the house and a steep cliff

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An exterior view of Casa Aa featuring its white walls and clear glass panes with a big tree by the house

Located just metres from where the client grew up, Casa AA's structure is inspired by his personal memories of the area

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An aerial view of Casa AA photographed at dusk with the skyline illuminated behind

The illuminated skyline of Guimarães at dusk

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