Sunday, June 22, 2008

House Pictures from Portugal

We're recently back from a short holiday in the Algarve, in Portugal. I spent a good bit of the time there, when I wasn't reading or zoning out, rubbernecking at the architecture and design. I was fascinated by the houses; all steps and softened corners and white and tiles. I think there must be a strong remnant of Moorish influences, because really, they're like nothing I've seen anywhere else in the West. Here are a few pictures, which I'm keeping for inspiration.

This one I like because of the sprawl of balconies and roofs and chimneys. Note also the solar panels - we saw a lot of those, often on houses that were quite old, and on modern apartments and the like as well. The level of greenery was unexpected - there had just been a three week spell of cloud and rain, and it showed.

These outside steps are typical of the houses - built as integrated parts of the structure, decorated with tiles and arches and small details of paintwork. All this is facing the Atlantic coast, and in the blazing sunshine, the white walls are almost blinding. My prescription sunglasses usually give a sepia tint to things in Ireland, but confronted with this light, all they could do was dull it enough to let me escape without a headache.

And this house was just over the hill from the hotel we were staying in. I love the combination of round and angular structures, the way in which it combines wall and roof and stairs to form one frontispiece, and the organic look of the whole thing. The picture doesn't quite do it justice, unfortunately, but as with many other buildings here, it was impossible to find a place from which you could take a single picture that showed the whole building - there were always details out of sight, or trees blocking the view. In some ways, that was part of the charm of the buildings; there were always new details to be found.

(All pictures by my wife, whose camera skills trump mine every time)

1 comment:

Gienah Ghurab said...

Those are really interesting and beautiful. I am especially a fan of outdoor archways, but that last house just looks like a story.