Boa Nova Tea House (1963), Matosinhos, Portugal

The Boa Nova Tea house, designed by Portugal’s beloved architect Álvaro Siza, is another one of his greatest early works. The restaurant was constructed along the Leça de Palmeira beaches just north of the Leça swimming pools, also designed by Siza, which I previously posted about. The design concept is similar to that of the Leça swimming pools, in that Siza skillfully organized his designs to interplay with the existing beauty and terrain of the site. The Boa Nova Tea House compliments the site with its long straight lines of wood and concrete juxtaposed with the massive boulders jutting up all around it. An ideal example of architecture integrated with landscape. The restaurant’s layout takes full advantage of its surroundings. Large windows lining the guest dining areas can be fully opened offering customers both a magnificent seaside view of rocks, sky, and ocean and the accompanying breeze.


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Over time the restaurant was closed. Also, it was said to have been vandalized, with the more expensive building materials, such as copper, stolen. In recent years the restaurant has undergone renovation, under the direction of Siza himself, to restore the building to its original glory. The splendidly designed structure, now called Casa de Cha da Boa Nova, has been declared a National Monument, and is open to the public offering the delectable menu of Portuguese master chef Rui Paula.


Photo © Nelson Garrido

Piscinas de Marés (1966), Leça da Palmeira, Portugal

I haven’t even fully researched the work of architect Álvaro Siza and I’ve already found so many interesting designs by him. He is Portugal’s most celebrated architect, and he has just become one of my favorite as well.


Siza designed some public seaside swimming pools for Leça da Palmeira, near his hometown of Matosinhos (though technically the two cities—or parishes—have now merged into one.) The northern Portuguese beach line provides a large rocky terrain in which Siza has nestled the architecture of the two changing rooms, and a café that accompany the pools. When traversing a ramp that leads to the pools the concrete walls on either side shoot upward, blocking the view of the ocean, and leaving one to revel in a sensory process involving the sky above and the sound of the ocean. There are two pools, a large somewhat square shaped adult pool and a U-shaped children’s pool. I love the clean and simple geometric lines of the building and the adult pool, and how they are juxtaposed with the natural rock, merging together in some places. In aerial views of the vicinity the blue pool water is a great contrast to the deep dark ocean. It seems that one large wave could easily swallow up the whole thing, if not for the great rocks jutting out of the sea bed separating the two. There is no doubt that this facility has been a jewel to the surrounding community for many years.

Laurie Short House: Sydney, Australia

The Laurie Short house was one of the first major buildings built by Glenn Murcutt. Laurie Short was one of Australia’s leading  trade union officials so this project as his first was pretty high profile. He built this house from 1972 to 1974. The architecture is very minimalistic. Nothing fancy, but a floor and a roof. And this seems to be where his use of glass and windows started. It also shows Murcutt’s sleek and clean approach to building his projects. murcutt 3.1murcutt 3.2This house intrigues me because of its lack of privacy. To me, that would be bothersome, however I guess where the house was located there don’t seem to be an neighbors that would be able to peep into his house. While it does not seem conventional for the United States neighborhood lifestyle the transparency aspect is very neat. It seems like Murcutt likes to allow the people that he is building for to enjoy their surroundings and not  murcutt 3.3seem trapped within their houses or work spaces, or dining experiences. Also, the contrast between the glass and the black frames makes it feel very modern. This house looks like such a relaxing place to live.

Bowali Visitor Information Centre: Kakadu National Park

The Bowali Visitor Information Centre is a place located within the Kakadu National Park in Australia. It provides visitors with information about the park, including: guides, videos, and even a library to help plan trips for the adventurers. This is also another one of the few buildings built by Glenn Murcutt that is openly available to the public on a consistent basis. The design on thmurcutt 2.5e building is based on the Aboriginal culture and shaped like one of their rock shelters. murcutt 2.2I find it really cool that the shape of the building even represents part of the history that the information center is providing to guests. Again, Murcutt’s work is very sleek, and modern looking. His lines draw the eye exactly where they are supposed to go. Also the wood used gives the building a more outdoors/adventure vibe. Another really interesting aspect is the use of all of the windows. This again, like tmurcutt 2.1he Berowra Waters Inn uses the windows in order to see the beautiful surroundings.  Also the openness of the design allows for the visitors to explore their surroundings.

Berowra Waters Inn: Australia

The Berowra Waters Inn is located about 50 minutes outside of Sydney, Australia. I assumed like in the title the word “Inn” implied that it was a hotel of some sort but it is currently just a restaurant. When it was first build around the 1930s it was a guest house but in the 1970s it was bought and restored. The architect on the project was Glenn Murcutt who is a leading Aumurcutt 1.1stralian architect. It is situated right up against the Berowra Creek. A cool aspect of this hidden restaurant is that people can only arrive at the inn via private ferry. I think this restaurant is so beautiful. It seems like such a fun, yet relaxing place to sneak away to. And I can only imagine how delicious the food is. I find the architecture to be very simple and sleek. I like the order it creates with its sharp lines. It also seems to be extremely modern with the cool windows that are on open so visitors can look out and see the beautiful scenery they are surrounded by. murcutt 1.2murcutt 1.3

Jacobs 1 Home by Frank Lloyd Wright

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Frank Lloyd Wright built this house for his acquaintance, Herbert Jacobs, in 1937 in Madison, Wisconsin. Jacobs had challenged him to build a small home for $5000 (equal to $82,442 in 2015). Wright was able to build this L-shaped home for $5,500. This was considered to be the first Usonian home which is the term that describes many of Wright’s small, single story dwellings that he built.

Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright

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This is Fallingwater built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Also known as the Kauffman Residence, this was built in 1935. It lays partly over a waterfall in rural Pennsylvania. Frank Lloyd Wright is considered “the greatest American architect of all-time.” Fallingwater is considered Wright’s greatest work, so it is fitfully considered the “best all-time work of American architecture.” The house is now a museum that hosts more than 120,000 visitors each year.

Just seeing all of the pictures of this beautiful place makes me want to visit it. The interior is very open with wonderful views of the beautiful surroundings. If I get a chance, I will definitely take a trip to Pennsylvania to see this in person.