The Novel Use of Cork for Portugal’s Villa Extramuros
A very original use of cork on the exterior defines the minimalist structure of the Villa Extramuros in Arriolos.
White stucco offsets the soft brown cork, and marble and waxed concrete are the other two textures in this striking minimalist vacation spot.
In some ways, the layout reflects the charms of villages in Southern and Mediterranean Europe, derived from the traditional design of latin mansions and medieval convents, around a central patio.
But the execution of the architecture, utilizing the unusual cork cladding, is contemporary and boldly minimal.
The soft brown cork turns out to be surprisingly beguiling as a minimalist material.
The material suggests that the warmth of the day is emanating out of the cork in the evening.
It creates an almost mushroom-like effect with its soft brown underside in this fashionably sky-slicing upstairs deck detail.
But the striking contrast between the hard edged concrete floor inside and the soft cork ceiling outside must be an interesting experience.
The floors and ceilings inside the building are concrete, durable and easy to care for in a region that takes the siesta seriously.
You can imagine how odd this must feel, looking out from these concrete floored rooms at the cork ceilings that are only under the exterior ceilings of the patios that ring the courtyard.
The communal living rooms of the Villa Extramuros open out onto the central courtyard and the dining room has a terrace that faces the surrounding fields and olive trees.
Furnishings comprise a mixture of designer pieces and traditional local textiles and objects.
In another contemporary twist, marble furniture for the bedroom and the study is snapped-together, treating the pricy material as if it’s particle-board.
In the heart of a preserved landscape of cork oaks and olive trees, the living spaces are hidden and protected from the outside in order to allow more privacy, but offer luminous views from inside.
This fascinating vacation resort is set in the Mediterranean in a region rich of centuries of history and culture.