Exterior of a wood and concrete home with low steps leading up to the entrance
Casa 15, Braga, Portugal by AM-arqstudio. Courtesy Ivo Tavares Studio

A Home by Portugal’s AM-arqstudio Celebrates Family Life by Design

Textural elements and playful volumes catch light to facilitate daily rituals in Casa 15, a private residence in Braga, Portugal.

Casa 15 is an assemblage of pervious concrete volumes and seamless wooden latticework that allows for an interior dialogue between light, space, and time. Completed in 2021 by Portugal-based architecture firm, AM-arqstudio, the home sits on a peculiar plot in Braga, Portugal posturing itself to take full advantage of its unique context.

The clients’ predilection for social spaces and uninhibited interior sightlines is made clear upon entry of the otherwise visually opaque residence. Visitors pass through an unassuming exterior into a panoptic central volume formed at the intersection of three spaces. All public areas servicing work and daily life, including the garden, can be enjoyed from this vantage point which allows guests and family alike to engage while maintaining their individual sense of space–a design intention that fosters connection between those inside. 

an exterior of a home with steps wrapping around and green grass in front
Casa 15 in Braga, Portugal designed by AM-arqstudio. Courtesy Ivo Tavares Studio
interior of a home filled with warm, wood shelving and concrete floors. Pictured: a living room and a floating staircase
Casa 15, Braga, Portugal by AM-arqstudio. Courtesy Ivo Tavares Studio

In contrast to many contemporary homes, the home’s interior embraces moodier, industrial finishes and textures in rejection of sterile white walls. “The spaces are defined by the materials and how light influences the different atmospheres, inviting the user to occupy either a darker and quieter space or a more open and bright area,” says principal architect André Malheiro. 

The textural nature of the materials used enhances the home’s temporal quality as it choreographs circulation and flow.

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Beaming through the gray vestibule and spilling into the kitchen, light pours through the exterior latticework and starts marking time at sunrise as it moves across the floor. Interior wood surfaces warm with the day’s progression and light begins to usher the family into adjacent spaces, transforming the ground level into a lightbox for exploration. 

image of a living room with a floating staircase and two couches
Casa 15, Braga, Portugal by AM-arqstudio. Courtesy Ivo Tavares Studio

What was previously lit then dims as the daylight retreats to areas where inhabitants commune for the evening, which includes the family and dining rooms, before waning to a soft glow in the library at dusk. 

While physical boundaries are nearly indistinguishable in the main volume, a gradation of material changes vertically indicates a shift in programming to a more private, second level. The rich interior finishes correspond in both material type and shape as they transition from one volume to the next. Large geometric metal frames appear at various scales in the staircase rail, suspended shelving, and light fixtures. LunaWood used on the exterior makes its way inside on the lower level before meandering upward to become the floor of the home’s private upper deck. This foreshadowing comes to fruition with the bedroom corridor plastered in a dark concrete finish perforated by windows to welcome moonlight. 

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