This contemporary residence in southern Portugal was designed by studio Mario Martins Atelier and comes with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. According to the architects, House in Lagos “was designed in featureless surroundings but with a fabulous view over the west Algarve coast, which receives the westerly sun in abundance. The project is based on technically evolved solutions, with the emphasis on energy sustainability, the use of geothermal power and an integrated domotics system. The building was designed on the basis of lightness and it rests on an exposed concrete base, balanced over landscaped terraces and the water features (swimming pool and lakes). The gardened roof accentuates this concept. The entrance is over a suspended concrete walkway. On reaching the upper storey we grasp the fluidity of the space containing the sitting room, kitchen and the large double height area, where a reflecting pool fills the entire space”. How would you personally characterize this home?
Energy during the construction process was saved by using FSC-certified glulam timber instead of steel to create the building’s distinctive wavy roof, while the store’s external walls use hemclad, a highly innovative insulator made from hemp, which, like all plants, absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere as it grows. An 80,000 litre water tank below ground provides water for the store’s toilets and waters the site’s green wall’, which provides natural insulation, acts as an all-natural pollution filter near the car park, and helps to encourage biodiversity. The result is a building that uses a fraction of the energy of structures of a similar size, and is still very popular with local shoppers.
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light