• Project Name: House in Avanca
  • Architects: nu.ma | unipessoal
  • Location: Avanca, Portugal
  • Area: 2,690 square feet
  • Year: 2017
House in Avanca

“House in Avanca” is a residential project located in Avanca, Portugal. Designed by nu.ma, this home features many interesting things. The overall site area is 2,690 square feet, and it offers a minimalist living space. Let’s know more about this remarkable structure. 

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    House in Avanca with glass doors and gras

    When you go 50 km south of Porto, you’ll find the small town of Avanca. Initially, there was a vacant lot between two buildings, but the owners wanted a private residential home, which was challenging to build for the architects. So what they have done is that they concentrate on the south side of the vacant space. Because it faces away from the road so that they are easily able to create private space amid the urban buildings. 

    House in Avanca with a wooden door and windows

    The vacant lot where the house was constructed is actually a non-regular shape and it is perpendicular to the street Dr. Egas Moniz, Avanca – Portugal. Therefore the solar orientation (from the street to the interior) is North-South. Architects did keep this thing in their mind and added a slope of 85cm from the entrance. 

    House in Avanca with a lot of windows on the side of it

    Clients had specifically demanded a modern but private living space; therefore, designers kept the program of the house exclusively to the interior of the space. So that house residents can get a consolidated urban area without disturbing their privacy.  

    House in Avanca design drawing

    However, creating this type of building with the approved rules and that too in this shape was quite challenging for the architects. The main volume of the structure should be 9x9m and could only have only two floors. 

    House in Avanca with a pool in front of it

    So, in order to mitigate the massiveness of the house, designers came up with this brilliant idea, and they visually divide the two-story structure horizontally into three equal parts. 

    House in Avanca garden area

    They also designed a set of lines, merging the floors and establishing some specific rules on the windows and facade finishes. 

    House in Avanca consept

    The rule is to divide the elevations into three equal parts: S0+S1+S2 (2.1+2.1+2.1m). This will allow them to create a recess through the rotation of section S0, to emphasize the house entrance. 

    House in Avanca with a wooden door in front of it

    Now you might be wondering what are the three divisions of sections of the house? These three stacked layers are designed in such a way that they form the system that houses the openings. 

    House in Avanca with a wooden door and windows

    For example, the borders determine the upper and lower edges of the openings, and the inner corner of the building has been constructed in such a way that it will turn towards the lowest layer of the right-hand structure. This part of the building is also slightly recessed

    The reason behind this construction is to create a niche for the main entrance to the residence. This way, it accentuates the entryway situation and also provides a good shelter from the rain to visitors who wish to enter. 

    House in Avanca interior

    The interior of the house is very keenly designed, and the spatial distribution is separated by function and by floors. 

    House in Avanca bathroom

    So here is the floor plan: on the ground floor, there is the social/service area which is also composed of the entrance hall, the toilet, office/library, kitchen, dining/living room, garage, and laundry.

    A large swimming pool next to a
House in Avanca

    So the ground floor is all about entertainment and social activities whereas the first floor is a completely private area. This floor has rooms; a toilet and a master suite. The bedroom also has direct access to the exterior terrace at the south. 

    If you see House in Avanca from the street, it will look like it has one opening on its smooth, exposed-concrete façade, but in reality, it opens up onto the rear garden and a luxurious private pool. 

    House in Avanca with a grassy lawn

    The most fascinating thing about this home is that when you look at its exteriors, it will appear that it was poured from a single mold! 

    When you enter this residence, you’ll be encountered with a green olive tree. The entrance is kept simple and in minimal design so that people get total privacy and a tranquil atmosphere. 

    A plant is growing out of the ground in front of a door

    There is also another plant on the terrace area. This plant is specifically placed to make a connection between rough concrete structure and nature. 

    House in Avanca Pool

    The areas on the ground floor are mainly focused on living and working together. There is a living and dining room, with its adjacent kitchen that faces directly south. This area also opens onto the pool through a long pane of glass. 

    To access the first floor, a protruding, rounded bottom step of the wooden stairway is given. Another staircase leads down to the pool. The exterior concrete stairway can be closed with the sliding wooden door on the rear side of the garage.

    Concrete has been used as the basic building material in the construction of this house. The reason behind this is that the concrete shell provides all the privacy, but it also allows the interior to open up to beautiful outdoor spaces with a swimming pool. The interiors have a connection to the exterior swimming pool on the ground floor. 

    House in Avanca walls and a door

    The overall shape and L-shaped volume stand on a plinth perfectly balance the 85-cm difference in the height of the lot at each end of the house. There is also a paved forecourt in the front part of the house layout, which leads to the garage. 

    pool in front of a House in Avanca y nu.ma in Portugal

    The sliding door and large glass pane windows are giving a break from the smooth exposed-concrete surfaces. Some parts of the house have also been clad with narrow, vertical wooden slatting. The tripartition of the house and the visible anchor holes in the concrete are adding a certain rhythm to the façade. What do you think? 

    Not only exteriors, but you can find extreme details in the interiors, such as the rounded handrail, the stair stringers. 

    room with white walls and wooden floors

    The light grey shade sets a discreet contrast, and at the same time, the use of a limited canon of materials gives this house its subtle quality.  


    The beautiful House in Avanca is a perfect example of how you can construct a residential property with a modern, minimal design that also offers a lot of privacy. Small yet functional, this house gives a luxurious vibe in a very subtle way. Nu.ma architects constructed this house in 2017, but it is still a popular topic for the talk. 

    Curious to know more constructions like House in Avanca? Read our previous blogs on Grosvenor House in Koncha-Zaspa that has mysterious bonsai trees in its living room.  

    You can always take inspiration from these spectacular house designs and try to include them in your dream home. You can consult your architect or builder and show them these pictures so that they’ll get an idea of how you want the design.  

    I hope you like this blog on House in Avanca and don’t forget to share it with your friends and family whole love to explore architecture.

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