The condition put on architect Mario Martins while designing Villa Escarpa was that it must be built on a piece of land previously occupied by another building. Although this had its downside, the location sat on an escarpment overlooking the Algarve coastline and village of Praia da Luz, in the South of Portugal. Situated on a very steep slope and exposed to rough winds, these constraints formed the basis of the initial design concept.
Sitting atop an exposed concrete support, the house appears to float above the mountain. Built in a modern block style in all white, cutouts provide sheltered terraces and courtyards shielded from the wind. A long water feature breaks the house into kitchen and living areas, separating the entertaining area of the house from the four bedrooms. A central courtyard leads to a private area secluding the bedrooms, where filtered natural light provides a soft and relaxing environment. Although the white of the house sits starkly against the mountain backdrop, Martins has succeeded in creating something firmly suited to the climate.