Exposed concrete, pink marble and a rooftop pool revive an old Lisbon home
As seen in the September Style Special of Wallpaper* (W*246)
Casa do Monte is a house cloaked in romantic narratives. Designed by Leopold Banchini Architects, selected for the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2019, with architect Daniel Zamarbide, the family home is set on a site caught in the steep wake of the hilltop chapel Nossa Senhora do Monte, established by Augustinians in 1147. It was also a location for a Wallpaper* fashion shoot by photographer Julien T Hamon and styled by Wallpaper* fashion director Isabelle Kountoure for the September 2019 issue (W*246).
The nondescript doorway to the house is reached only by a passage of narrow steps, winding past venerable neighbours deferring to rubble. And while the historic façade has been quietly preserved, inside, the space was totally demolished and re-carved from scratch.
Re-materialised with concrete, the walls have been left raw and exposed, changing the atmosphere of the house from something domestic into a pure and stylistic architectural shell for living.
Simplicity and raw materials define the interior programme. Slabs of solid stone divide the space and open up storage solutions, while sweeping light fabric curtains glide over the architecture to add a warm intimacy to the exposed materials. The interventions in pink marble from the nearby Estremoz quarry, green azulejos tiles, and local carpentry sharpen the space with Banchini’s trademark eclecticism – also seen at the Casa CCFF in Geneva.
A blue metal staircase spirals through the layers up to the final chapter. On the rooftop a rectangular pool has been carved out of a flat plane of Portuguese white stone, punctured by three umbrella pines and wrapped up in the Lisbon panorama. §