Located in Alentejo, a rural region in central Portugal, Villa Além by Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati is characterized by concrete walls which splay outwards and inwards like the flaps of an open box to provide shade for a garden within.
The surrounding walls are up to five and a half meters high to shade from the mild and dry climate, assorting well with the colour of the rusty earth. The garden can be seen through wide openings in the outer walls and are protected from the area’s free-roaming livestock by large metal doors. Constructed from slightly reddish, in situ concrete, the complex stands out due to a strikingly monumental presence and a sense of inscrutability. Modeled on the Court of the Myrtles at the Alhambra in Grenada, the garden at the centre of the house is arranged as a series of horizontal bands framed by paths and planting, defined by a central pool at the main north-axis. The interior features tall raw concrete walls, providing a cave-like appearance that contrasts the sun-exposed courtyard. A long arch-shaped corridor runs along the living spaces at the front of the house before hooking around to three bedrooms and bathrooms arranged in a row behind.