Plié is a French term meaning to bend. It is one of the most recognisable and fundamental ballet movements. The movement, in which a dancer bends the knees and straightens them again, is essencial to gain momentum for the takeoff and landing of every good jump or leap and the starting point of nearly every turn, giving strength and flexibility to the entire body. This is what the villa is all about: flexibility, strength and lightness in an unified body.
Located less than a kilometer away from the sea, in a narrow allotment in Cascais, Villa Plié opens up and expands itself to the exterior, contradicting it at the same time.
The program is divided clearly on its two floors. The ground floor, stands for the social area in a continuous space (kitchen and living room), as the first floor for the private area (two bedrooms). The floor slab of the house expands in cantilever to the exterior, like the open arms of a dancer. On one side, it hosts the cars arriving, on the other, a covered living area by the kitchen. Facing the street, the same slab swings a little to the outside on the west facade, expanding the house. In the other direction, it flies over the kitchen and stops at the beginning of the room, opening it to a double height. There, in a scenic moment, the light comes from above and from the huge span across the width of the house that opens it to a private garden inside the lot. The upper floor is open to the treetops all around its perimeter, as if it were a vision of a pirouette. The roof – separated from the rest of the building - is supported in four points and folds towards the garden creating, along the way, a generous porch that expands the room to the outside. The house, built in reinforced concrete by spatial/structural consequence, lives of a very intimate relationship with the exterior, and perhaps, at certain moments, this allows for that ambiguous feeling of not being able to distinguish if we are inside or outside.
From the street, those who pass by see three horizontal planes in the air, miraculously hovering, contradicting the laws that keep us on earth.
Location: Cascais, Portugal | Architecture: João Carmo Simões; Colaboration: Marta Tornelli | Landscape Architecture: Joāo Gomes da Silva | Global arquitectura paisagista | Engineering: ADF - Engenheiros Consultores | Stucture: António Adão da Fonseca | Climatization HVAC + Thermal: Raul Bessa | Images: AIVA images Pedro Saraiva with João Carmo Simões