RCR Arquitectes unveils luxury villa at Portugal's Palmares resort


Catalonian studio RCR Arquitectes has completed the first of eight luxury red concrete villas it has designed for the Palmares Ocean Living & Golf resort in the Algarve.

The Pritzer Prize-winning studio has designed all of the buildings for the seaside resort, including villas, hotels and a clubhouse building that opened in late 2020.

Although there will be more than 100 villas in total, only eight will come under the title Signature Villas. This one, called Villa 19, is the first of those eight to complete.

What sets the Signature Villas apart is their size. Each one boasts four bedrooms and bathrooms, sea views, a large private swimming pool and a sizeable garden.

As with the other buildings at the Palmares resort, these villas are primarily formed of overlapping planes of red pigmented concrete.

Wall surfaces are angular rather than curvy, yet they still have an organic feel. Rooms are designed to fan out from one other, so there is no clear front or back to the building.

"We have created the homes at Palmares not as objects implanted into the environment, but as spaces embedded into the topography, framing the landscape," explained Rafael Aranda, one of the three co-founders of RCR Arquitectes.

"The Signature Villas were developed with a unique relationship with the external natural environment, creating a feeling of privilege in this exceptional setting," he continued.

"It's a feeling that flows throughout each home, connecting people to the place in a very special way."

The first of the homes, the two-storey Villa 19, is organised around nine terraces so that indoor activities can spill outdoors.

On the ground floor, the kitchen, dining room and living room are arranged in sequence along the first three of these terraces.

The swimming pool creates a nature divide between these more social spaces and a ground-floor bedroom, which opens out onto three further stepped terraces.

Upstairs, the remaining three bedrooms each have a terrace of their own.

The villa's other features include minimal floor-to-ceiling glazing, contemporary kitchens and overhanging roofs that offer natural sun shading.

Palmares Ocean Living & Golf is backed by developer Kronos Homes. The resort centres around a 27-hole course designed by golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr.

Each of the resort's Signature Villas will boast a slightly different design, developed in response to the unique conditions of each site.

RCR has also developed a standard design for Signature Apartments, which will be delivered in a later phase of the project.

Founded in 1988, RCR Arquitectes is led by Aranda alongside Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta, and is based in their home town of Olot, Catalonia.

Key projects from the studio include a "serene and restrained" Dubai apartment building and a steel-clad museum in France.