The first records of Cortegaça appear during the 10th century; nevertheless some evidence of Romans occupations can still be found. A road leading to the city of Coimbra crossed the village– the carraria imperial. Given its strategic location, there are traces of other military occupations during the French Invasions. The building to be recovered is located in a rural area and consists of a hay barn that is part of larger group of ancillary buildings belonging to a family farm.
The commission was to convert the hay barn into a small house. The house was rebuilt from its elementary structure, of pure volumetry and dimensions, which evokes traditional rural constructions. The choice to keep façades in slate as well as the double-sloped roof conditioned the interior of the house. The distribution is quite basic: living room, dinning room, kitchen and a bedroom in the first floor. The house’s heart is the living room with its double height: at the upper floor, a balcony works as a studio leading to the bedroom and bathroom. A glass wall in the living room is shaded from the sun by pinewood laths, allowing a view to the gardens and vineyards surrounding the property. A new designed tunnel used as a wine cellar connects the Palheiro (hay barn) to the main house.
In order to keep the identity and the historical meaning of the building, the restoration complied with the materials and rules of the vernacular architecture. There was no prejudice concerning the new program, as far as the major purpose of the intervention was to create a more intimate and comfortable living space as well as to promote a consistent integration of the hay barn in the surrounding areas.