Dream homes

House with steel structure and window front – modern architecture and minimalist design

glass facade of the house with steel construction and modern architecture with minimalist design

At the end of 2018, the architect Maria Fradinho designed her own office and house with a steel structure on a 940 m² plot on the outskirts of Ílhavo, Portugal. The land is also “at the door” of Vista Alegre. It is a place that is actually quite popular with many architects. This is mainly due to the fact that its name resembles the Vista Alegre porcelain factory due to its origin. This is one of the most important industries in the region. The factory inspired the house designer because the area is actually very popular. She looked for references in industrial architecture in order to realize a house with a steel structure as a unified body. For this reason, she coated it with metallic materials and built the interior independently of its outer shell.

Modern house with steel structure

House facade made of steel and concrete contrasts on the street in the district

The “Arch House” follows the continuity of the neighboring buildings, with the main facade ensuring that it is aligned with the overall appearance. However, it is stylized to allow the permeability of light and views in a symbolic play of association with the presence of the arch. This also marks the entrance to the site of Vista Alegre. This improvement creates the “crowning glory” of the facade and takes itself on as a child’s drawing.

house with glass front and steel frame with bridging seen from below

The theatricality of the facade also gives the house with its steel construction the appropriate name, which does not, however, define it alone. The building steps back in relation to the city facade described and creates a semi-private space.

evening lights in the courtyard with a bonsai tree in front of the house with steel construction and window front

There is a front courtyard that allows for the main fully open facade of large glass windows. The terrace is the moment of the rupture of the external environment and prepares us for the new reality of the interior. It is a bridge that connects two seemingly interrelated but really different realities.

living room with couch and dining table in combination with a second floor from different rooms

The entrance hall resembles a small wooden box in which the residents and guests can feel comfortable and welcome. Immediately afterwards we are amazed at the light and the high ceiling of the living room.

wooden staircase leading to the guest room with double bed and upholstered wall

It was important for the architects to ensure this transition process from the public to the private area and to ensure adequate privacy inside the house due to the maximum desired level of brightness. Inspired by shipping containers, the volume with which the interior is developed creates an overall height in some areas that reflects the great industrial environment of a main ship.

Innovative room layout and design

The study with window and wooden floor offers a beautiful view of the green backyard in the outside area

The different ceiling heights expand the rooms, make them more comprehensive and offer a visual relationship between the different places in the house. This creates the feeling that a single room is occupied by smaller elements.

bedroom with staircase and terrace with sliding glass door

These are distributed accordingly through the building in a “sliding” motion along its length. This creates a rhythm that breaks the monotony of the building’s outer body in a lively way.

practical and innovative room layout in the form of boxes and cube with glazing

The rear facade is also lavishly fully glazed. This creates a relationship with the green backyard and also ensures a direct relationship with the outside area. All boxes have the option of referring to this facade with the same hierarchy as they will all be converted into one large window.

house with steel construction and sloping roof from a bird's eye view with green backyard

For structural reasons, the basement designed for the studio was not built. This decision forced a complete redesign. However, it ensured the minimal changes to the original project of the house.

modern house with steel structure and glass facade in the district with older houses

The Arch House is therefore the combination of these three assumptions: the theatricality of the urban facade, the complexity of the purported use versus industrial inspiration and the limits of the conspiracy that together make this steel structure house a complex and unique architectural gem.

*Architects website

dark front door and white facade of the metal house with arch

minimalist designed bathroom in gray with a long mirror and bathroom cabinet in white in front of the shower cubicle

modern minimalist two-row kitchen in white with tiled floor in gray

Connection between the house with steel structure and the interior in the form of a bridge with a lattice

floor plan of the first floor in the house with steel structure and sloping roof