São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal

Simplicitylove was recently introduced to the São Lourenço do Barrocal estate project, a new vision for modern country living, set in Alentejo region of Portugal, a remarkable, rugged and unspoiled place. Bordering Alqueva Lake, the estate spans olive groves, vineyards and meadows, as well as remarkable stone formations, the megalithic barrocals, from which it takes its name. 

This ancient land of the 780-hectare estate has passed down through seven generations, providing shelter, sustenance and community. A sustainable development of dwellings is currently designed to continue this tradition, bringing new life to this unique setting, preserving and evolving the estate’s wild beauty for generations to come. Each home is carefully positioned in relation to the unique character of the land, tucked in the curve of a small valley or embracing the landscape’s stone formations.

John Pawson, Eduardo Souto de Moura, João Gomes da Silva landscape architect and others have responded in a common architectural language to the wild beauty of the estate, creating individual homes in harmony with the land, the community, and the elements. 

Three distinct different types of homes are developed : Custom residences - Monte - Barrocal residences.

Custom residences are created by some of the world’s leading architects, including John Pawson (two houses on plots 10 & 12), designed in response to specific locations among the ancient stones in the landscape with total sensitivity to place.

Monte residences, designed by Eduardo Souto de Moura, reinvent the estate’s 200-year-old original farm buildings, preserving their high ceilings, arches and sturdy walls with fluid layouts and fine finishes. Monte will also include a small hotel, a restaurant serving fresh, locally sourced food, a winery, a luxurious spa and handpicked shops.

Barrocal residences, also designed by Eduardo Souto de Moura, are tucked into clefts in the Estate’s undulating landscape. The design offers the simplicity of the ideal country retreat, with complete privacy and views across the fields.

São Lourenço do Barrocal also produces its unique wine, its vines deeply rooted in granite and schist soils. Carefully blended from Portugal’s indigenous red wine varieties Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet and Aragonês grapes, as well as Syrah, each vintage is the result of a meticulous craft, lead by the renowned and awarded Spanish winemaker Susana Estaban.  

José António Uva, the developer, is the eighth generation of the same family to have lived at São Lourenço do Barrocal. His ambition is to bring the community back to life in a manner that respects its unique ecology and ancient history.

All Images © Courtesy of São Lourenço do Barrocal

Descriptions from São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal: 

"Set in Portugal’s wild and beautiful Alentejo, this is a new vision for modern country living.

Nestled among ancient outcrops, centenary olive groves, vineyards and meadows, the Barrocal estate is a remarkable landscape set in Portugal’s vast, unspoilt Alentejo. 
Although just a short journey from Lisbon, Madrid and Seville, this remarkable, rugged region is stunningly unspoiled. From its thriving farms, dotted with glossy brown cattle, to the whitewashed castles that rise from wildflower-covered hills, it’s a place to savour exploring.
Now, the development of dwellings, each designed to bring new life to its unique setting, will preserve and evolve the estate’s wild beauty for generations to come.

For thousands of years people have lived lightly and receptively on this land, the ancient landscape having long lent itself to providing shelter, sustenance and community. The next chapter continues this tradition.
Sprawling across cork-dotted hills, wildflower-covered meadows and shady olive groves, the 780-hectare Barrocal estate has passed down through seven generations.
Now, this remarkable place is evolving once more, retaining and transforming the
original structures and preserving the land’s rugged beauty, but complimenting it with softly spoken new residences, and a luxurious hotel, restaurant, winery and spa.

Custom Residences
Designed entirely to suit both place and person, the custom residences are an opportunity to create and inhabit a truly singular home, sharing a common architectural language with other homes in the Estate.
Tucked into a natural dip in the landscape, and peacefully co-existing with the imposing boulders, the John Pawson house is an example of these custom residences.
In local brick, the home straddles one ancient boulder, and wraps around another, putting the landscape at the home’s heart.
As you would expect from Pawson, the home is crisply minimal, forming a quiet backdrop to the stunning views from the vast windows. Outdoors, a swimming pool offers welcome relief from the Alentejan heat, while a generous terrace provides sweeping views out towards the Estate’s plains, 
right up to Monsaraz on the hill.

Monte residences
As you turn the bend along the tree-lined drive, you enter the  monte, an avenue of white plaster homes topped by locally made red clay tiles. This is the Estate’s true heart.
Once home to the families who lived and worked here, the 200 year-old buildings’ previous incarnations as welcoming cottages, bakeries, blacksmiths’ forges and grain stores are evident in the restored original features – tiled hearths, rustic beams and generous chimneys.
Now, they find new purpose as affordable, cleverly laid out modern townhouses and homes, each one different, designed by Eduardo Souto de Moura to make the best use of the space with thoughtful simplicity. Finishes are modern and of the highest quality, but every effort has been made to preserve the marks of original use.

Barrocal residences
Pritzker Prize-winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura designed the Barrocal residences to provide modern comfort with a serene aesthetic that exists in perfect harmony with the ever-changing natural setting.
Tucked into natural clefts in the land, each affords a sense of complete privacy, while offering unconstrained views out across the Estate. The residences feature full-height windows, generous proportions, modern finishes and a shady wraparound verandah with plenty of vegetation.
These understated homes are the perfect rural retreat for a laidback enjoyment of country life, yet offer all the comfort of a modern house, perfectly configured to suit its inhabitants. Rather than making an overt architectural statement, they allow the surrounding landscape to influence."

“The guiding principle for the development of the estate is to appreciate the essential characteristics of this remarkable place. Nowhere is this more evident than in the placement of the residences, each one positioned just so – in a sheltered cleft, or wrapping around rocky outcrops – always heeding the land’s instruction. 
 The result is a place that is completely sheltered and secluded, with no house visible from any other, each home working in quiet accord with its surroundings, yet unmistakably part of a harmonious whole. 
The approach to planning the development takes its cues from the very oldest objects ever situated here – the megalithic barrocals from which the estate takes its name.

These stone outcrops, carefully chosen or assembled for the simultaneous shelter and vistas they afforded their first inhabitants, became an intrinsic part of the landscape, as these new homes also seek to do, sitting quietly in the land thanks to their use of materials, scale and form.”

Custom Residences : John Pawson, Plot10

Custom Residences : John Pawson, Plot12

Barrocal Residences : Eduardo Souro de Moura

Hotel & Spa: Eduardo Souto de Moura | Interiors: Ana Anahory | Rederings: LT Studios

Source: São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal | BarrocalFilms