Villa Além is a project by Flims based Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati, located in Alentejo about 10 km inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The area features a hilly, rural landscape and is covered with beautiful old cork oaks. The climate is mild and dry. The primary intention here is to create a secluded garden. The surrounding walls are up to five and a half meters high to provide the necessary shade and the entire impression created is one of a desert, dry, stony and dusty. Everything is constructed from slightly reddish, in situ concrete. The character of the complex is chiefly defined by the surrounding walls, which create the impression of petals that close and open towards the sky. The dwelling itself is invisible and develops across a single floor behind the surrounding walls. The living room is located at the end of a strict axis leading from north to south. It overlooks the pool and offers a view through the southern door in the garden wall across a flat and empty landscape. A curved hallway allows the inhabitants to retreat into shadows and into the introverted private rooms.
Text and images © Valerio Olgiati