Wilderness Retreat at Villa Carragueira: Interview with António Costa Lima

Working in harmony with the wilderness, Villa Carragueira's architect António Costa Lima takes inspiration from Comporta's untamed landscapes.
Wilderness Retreat at Villa Carragueira: Interview with António Costa Lima
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Head towards the Alentejo coast of Portugal to uncover Comporta, a beach town that is in a league of its own. Long stretches of beaches collaborate with rice fields and expansive, untouched wilderness to create a spectacular landscape, a perfect place to retreat.

Villa Carregueira pays homage to this unspoilt refuge, with architect António Costa Lima drawing inspiration from both tradition and nature. In doing so, he creates an expansive home that both nods to Comporta's quintessential small cabanas and wild biodiversity while creating a modern spacious home. 



Taking inspiration from the past 

When charged with the mission of building a luxurious Portuguese retreat that was influenced by Comporta’s rich culture, António was faced with the challenge of how to scale up the rustic charm of the traditional cabanas where fishermen and farmers have traditionally dwelled. 

His solution? Creating a nest of fragmented cabanas with patios, all united under a canopy. In doing so, he invites in light and ventilation, mirroring the freedom of the landscape.  



António reminisces over how he watched the owner's reactions with trepidation, knowing that he was presenting them with a highly unusual proposal and asking them to take a leap of faith. Yet, despite their surprise, they embarked down the unbeaten path together and developed a close partnership, imaging over dinners together the future of the house.

The entrance sets the scene for what is to come, a complex arrangement that playfully balances space and levels to create a stage on which the light can dance. The ‘Comporta style’ wooden beams and reed pendants that hang from the ceiling ground the space in rustic traditions.

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Antonio was deeply inspired by Comporta’s unique geography, and the house appears to be beckoning nature in. Born to Lisbon but having been lured by Comporta's charm towards many projects in the area, António discusses how the area particularities have enchanted him: from the expansive bay to the temperate climate to the rugged landscape

Inside, the large inviting windows frame the pine and cork trees that dominate the landscape, displaying them like glorious masterpieces

Given its status as a strictly protected wildlife reserve, biodiversity is spectacular in Comporta with wildflowers blanketing the landscape while storks nestle and flamingoes roam the wilderness. 

Honouring this landscape, the villa’s garden is an edenic paradise. Its verdant canopies cover the outdoor terrace, while the villa’s tennis courts and swimming pool blend seamlessly into the surroundings. 



The outdoors seeps inside thanks to the ingenious structure of the house. Each crevice of the house feels overlooked by nature, giving its seal of approval to the landscape's latest modern addition. 

Such an experimental house is a testament to the ambition and collaboration of the architectural, interior and landscaping team. António reflects on the importance of close relationships with landscapers Polen and Charlotte Van Houtte, lauding their outstanding creativity and intuition in allowing the house to be integrated into the surroundings.  

Each element of the house sings in harmony with one another as well as the world beyond. The result? A feeling of both belonging and contributing to the region’s natural riches

It is bursting with pride that António reflects that the project to him feels like "mission accomplished". 



Travel throughout the region, journeying from rice paddies to the expansive bay that lures in so many visitors to the region. Alternatively, do as the locals do, savouring the catches of the day in unpretentious, beachside restaurants

Immerse yourself in the natural wilderness in this awe-inspiring villa. In Comporta, a place that follows its own path, reconnect with nature and yourself.

The Collection

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