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Casa Modesta

Casa Modesta, an old family home with views over the spectacular Ria Formosa, which was thoughtfully reconceived by PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura. The house’s traditional architecture was reinterpreted in a modern way and recently turned into a small luxury hotel with nine individual suites. Built as a concept that respects traditional building styles and local materials while interpreting them through a contemporary lens, it has been busy since it opened.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-01-Joao-Carmo-Simoes-759x506 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Carmo Simões

“From the plain things we create the house, with the architectural culture and traditional construction knowledge, the materials and the people of a place. CASA CHî reinterprets the ancestral legacy through contemporary logic, creating and nurturing social and economic dynamics linked to local crafts. Firmed in the memory of a family and a place, PAr consolidated this project in the prototype Casa Modesta.” – PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-03-Joao-Carmo-Simoes-759x506 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Carmo Simões

Casa Modesta is the ideal space to hold corporate meetings. Built using the legacy inherited from the Algarve’s traditional architecture it gives a contemporary feel to its rural setting, surrounded by the magnificent Ria Formosa Nature Park landscape, one of Portugal’s seven wonders. The house offers 9 rooms with private patios and two common rooms. The house’s surrounding areas allow the guests to take advantage of the excellent climate of the region offering endless possibilities to all types of events.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-06-Joao-Carmo-Simoes-759x506 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Carmo Simões

The whole project is based on a profound respect for traditions and nature, the overall aim is to rescue lost authenticity in the region. The project filters out urban influences and is designed as a country house / cottage, the design evokes a temple anchored to the Algarve’s popular architecture.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-13-Joao-Mascarenhas-759x506 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Mascarenhas

Casa Modesta also offers a vast choice of innovative ideas, trying to portray the day of an Algarvian person and focusing on the local way of acting and thinking. The activities contribute to the concept of sustainable rural tourism by promoting local activities and traditions. The project’s wellness concept is based on low impact physical exercise such as Yoga and Pilates, in groups or individually but all taking place in their own grounds.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-14-Joao-Mascarenhas-759x506 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Mascarenhas

The vegetable garden with native products, offers visitors the chance to get hands on with the planting, pruning and harvesting of the product which will all be prepared and consumed in the gastronomy workshops taking place there. Workshops at the Casa Modesta include bread baking, corn harvesting, pottery, medicinal herbs and many more.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-18-Joao-Carmo-Simoes-759x514 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Carmo Simões

“Our door is always open to welcome those who arrive with the same joy with which we would run to our grandparents arms when we were little. Our grandfather, an “old sea dog”, Joaquim Modesto de Brito, known to all as “the champ”, was the foundation of this project. So many memories inhabit these walls and grounds that we, the grandchildren, couldn’t allow them to get lost. This is how Casa Modesta was born, combining rural tourism with a contemporary feel, manifested in nine rooms with private patios. There is also a garden with a section for organically grown vegetables and a solarium where time flows with the tides.” – Casa Modesta

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-20-Joao-Carmo-Simoes-800x1200 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Carmo Simões

PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura:

At the beginning, there was a house at the Algarve region, in the south of Portugal. It was from the 1940s, sober and looking at the salty lagoon. The place contained two buildings, a water tank and a forested site. The project aim was to renovate this ancient house into a rural hotel.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-24-Joao-Carmo-Simoes-800x1200 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Carmo Simões

As a principle, we pursue the reinterpretation of vernacular culture by contemporary logic, using traditional materials. More than a simple technical and aesthetic upgrade, the project reinterpreted the pre-existence house from its family memories.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-30-Joao-Carmo-Simoes-759x506 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Carmo Simões

The starting step was to keep the location and volumetry of the buildings, the relationship between the spaces of the house, as well as the relevant elements of the regional architecture: the tank, the flat roof terraces, the exterior stairs, the covered patio, the wood oven, the water cistern.\nThe project created autonomous rooms, integrated with the nuclear home (kitchen, living and dinning rooms), along with collective use spaces (workshops room, tank).

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-33-Joao-Mascarenhas-759x507 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© João Mascarenhas

They were designed for the enjoyment of the local habits: the bath tubs are deep and designed like the southern public baths and fountains; each rooms has its own patio or roof terrace, all windows look at the lagoon.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-40-Casa-Modesta-759x947 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© Casa Modesta

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-51-Casa-Modesta-759x759 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© Casa Modesta

The materials used are from close to the site and could have been there before the renovation: the regional clay tile; the red limestone; the cork as insulation, the brass hardware. In the end, the house retains its own identity, intensified by the renovation project and by the experience of its inhabitants.

Casa-Modesta-By-PAr-Plataforma-de-ARquitectura-54-Casa-Modesta-759x427 Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura

© Casa Modesta

Project Data:

Project name: Casa Modesta
Location: R. das Fontes Santas, 8700-128 Olhão, Algarve, Portugal
Coordinates: 37.041840, -7.785272
Type: Hotel
Hotel Size: 9 individual suites
Site area: n/a
Project area: n/a
Status: Built
Completion: 2015
Opening Date: April 1, 2015
Visit Casa Modesta’s Website: here


  • 2017 – Architizer A+ Awards – Typology Categories: Hospitality / Hotels & Resorts – Jury Winner
  • 2017 – Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence – Category: Best Green Hotel / Europe & The Mediterranean – Winner

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Carlos Fernandes

Text Description: © Courtesy of PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura, Casa Modesta
Images: © Casa Modesta, João Carmo Simões, João Mascarenhas


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Casa Modesta / PAr Plataforma de ARquitectura
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