A stony ruin on the volcanic island of Pico, in the North Atlantic Ocean’s Portuguese Azores, was turned into a cozy vacation home that gorgeously combines the old with the new.
Inês Vieira da Silva and Miguel Vieira, of Portugal’s SAMI Arquitectos, got the commission for the house in 2005 from a couple based in Coimbra. After 10 years of development, the E/C House is finally complete. Once upon a time, the ruin was a structure with a living space on the top and a space for animals below. Now, it’s transformed into a two-story house with walls of deep gray basalt stone and sleek, modern interiors in white and gray.
Floor-to-ceiling windows let light pour into the living room and four bedrooms, which have timber-lined walls and built-in shelving under a gabled roof. “These openings are sometimes lined up, and sometimes not, with the former openings of the ruin, creating new frames and relations with the original limits of the house,” da Silva and Vieira say in a statement.
The weaving together of past and present architecture isn’t too seamless: one original wall of the ruin juts out from the new house’s facade somewhat awkwardly, serving more as a poetic sculpture than as a functional part of the shelter. Next to this wall, though, three old stone stairs merge with the new deck perfectly, letting you straddle centuries with a footstep.