Casa no Tempo, Montemor-O-Novo, Alentejo, Portugal
A timeless place in the middle of nowhere
Casa no Tempo is an old family farm house on 400 hectares of land covered in fields of wildflowers, lakes and cork groves. Following the success of Casas na Areia and Cabanas no Rio, it is the third collaboration between architects Aires Mateus and Tap-pilot /property development pioneer Joao Rodrigues.
It’s amazing how so little can give one so much. I was not expecting that such aesthetic simplicity, absence and neutrality could be such a gift for me as a person, as an architect.
The path to Casa no Tempo is a sensory gradient, at least that’s how I perceive it. As the city shrinks in my rearview mirror, the houses, people, and noise fade away behind me. I am welcomed by Domingos, the farm’s guardian – his warmth makes me feel like we’ve known each other forever. Leaving the one-street village behind, all that lies before me is the countryside. Instantly, I mute the radio, so I can appreciate everything around me, in silence. The sloping trees, the muddy paths, the small brook that runs strongly, thanks to the rain that still falls. The small goats that suddenly appear on the road don’t take me by surprise: they are as inherent as the imposing rocks along the field, as if they are meant to be there, and I am already expecting them. At last, from this quiet, yet lush path, I catch a glimpse of the house from afar, atop the hill. It is different from everything around it, but so natural that it appears to grow out of the soil just like another tree.
When I arrive, and get out of the car, a silence falls over me, and I listen. I hear the birds singing through the rain, the water of the swimming pool moving with the wind, as well as the leaves dancing, far away. When I close my eyes, I see everything more clearly. The visual silence around me demonstrates nature’s beauty and power, as the rain welcomes and introduces me to the house. Once inside, I understand: Casa no Tempo honours nature, memory and time.The beauty of Casa no Tempo is that the house is not only a building, but is also its surroundings. The house is an homage to nature, and its elements are felt both indoors and out.
The raw wooden furniture, the landscape framed in the wide window, the natural clay floor underneath my feet, all make me feel as connected with the outdoors as if I were hiking in the woods. Moreover, there is not a single room in which the elements don’t enter through the large windows, as if they are paintings, decorating the room: the interiors’ simplicity allows nature to be the central figure of this experience.
But memory is also celebrated within these walls, as the key ingredient that strengthens the ties between architecture, people and surroundings. Memory, in the sense that I picture the men who rebuilt these walls: the wavy marks they left on them tell me their own story. Memory, in the way architecture reinvents a house’s typology, and elevates it through form, material and construction details. Memory, because my mind brings me home when I’m here, although I have never been here before, and this place doesn’t look like my house. But this warmth, that comes from within, calls me to walk barefoot, to rest upon the sofa, to be happy that there is a storm outside.
Tempo means time, but also weather. I like to think that the word refers to the timelessness of the experience, when you take a break from life and dive into this unbelievable and breathtaking universe. Moreover, Casa no Tempo is the content and complete feeling you have in this place, where the seasons pass through you and you can’t help but feel like an element of nature, an element of the landscape.
WORDS: Marta Lourenço
PHOTOS: Nelson Garrido
Good to know
All floors of the main house are inlaid with blocks of regional clay (cozily heated in winter). A fully equipped kitchen is integrated within the beautiful white marbled structure, opening out to a dining table in front of a huge window overlooking a 400 sq-meter swimming pool. There is a wood fireplace and the four suites are spacious, furnished with modern bedding and artisanal wooden furniture.
Location & Booking Details
Casa no Tempo is approximately one hour south of Lisbon, close to the village of Montemor-O-Novo in the Alentejo region. Price: from about 600 € (low season with a minimum stay of 3 days). Breakfast and daily cleaning included. For more information and booking requests please contact us:
Guests who want to slow down to match the lanquid rhythm of Portugese nature. For families rediscovering their spirit and reclaiming their energy. For deep bonding and a true escape from the myriad of distractions in everyday life.