Casa Modesta


Casa Modesta is located in the Ria Formosa National Park, a protected natural lagoon on the Portuguese Algarve. To the owners Casa Modesta means more than just a hotel: they associate happy childhood memories with the estate that once belonged to their grandfather. Only parts of the old walls have been kept, but the contemporary new building still retains the spirit of the original family home, because it is based on old traditions and local materials. The hotel features nine suites (with patios and decks) and two common rooms. The strict geometry of the white walls is combined with the warm earthy tone of the terracotta floors. Lamps and fittings in brass add glamour to the minimalist look. Casa Modesta is the prototype of Casa Chã. Casa Chã is an architectural concept that reinterprets traditional architecture in a modern way: Old buildings/materials are reused, cooperation with local artisans, usage of traditional techniques, the design is contemporary, simple, authentic and poetic.

Casa Modesta

Casa Modesta as Architects

At the beginning, there was a house at the Algarve region, in the south of Portugal.It was from the 1940s, sober and looking at the salty lagoon.The place contained two buildings, a water tank and a forested site.The project aim was to renovate this anciente house into a rural hotel.As a principle, we pursue the reinterpretation of vernacular culture by contemporary logic, using traditional materials.


More than a simple technical and aesthetic upgrade, the project reinterpreted the pre-existence house from its family memories.The starting step was to keep the location and volumetry of the buildings, the relationship between the spaces of the house, as well as the relevant elements of the regional architecture: the tank, the flat roof terraces, the exterior stairs, the covered patio, the wood oven, the water cistern.


The project created autonomous rooms, integrated with the nuclear home (kitchen, living and dinning rooms), along with collective use spaces (workshops room, tank).


They were designed for the enjoyment of the local habits: the bath tubs are deep and designed like the southern public baths and fountains; each rooms has its own patio or roof terrace, all windows look at the lagoon.


The materials used are from close to the site and could have been there before the renovation: the regional clay tile; the red limestone; the cork as insulation, the brass hardware.


In the end, the house retains its own identity, intensified by the renovation project and by the experience of its inhabitants.

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