Aldeia do ArtesãoEco-dwellings
Aldeia do Artesão is in the riverside area, between the villages of Sobral Pichorro and Fuinhas. The River Muxagata runs through the centre of the valley, with the camp-site and restaurant on the West bank and the Nature Park and eco-dwellings on the East side. There will be one-bed studios, built into the Earth hobbit-style, two bed cottages and four bed eco-villas. Each house will be oriented towards the south, with spectacular views of the Serra da Estrela mountains.
They have been designed for elegance and efficiency, and they will be built from Compressed Earth Blocks, which is a new technology based on ancestral tradition, but applying intelligent low-tech innovation. The blocks will be pressed in a hydraulic press, in a purpose built production barn, and they will be composed of earth carefully selected from our own site, and mixed and combined to create the ideal construction material.
Compressed Earth Blocks are load bearing. In many parts of the world, spectacular buildings were crafted entirely from Earth.
Homes built from Earth have a high thermal mass, which means they stay cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. As long as an Earth home has been built with the correct orientation in relation to the sun and local weather conditions, it is a delight to spend time in. As soon as you enter an earth built home you can feel that it is an organic environment, where the walls are breathing, and the air and moisture levels are perfect for living.
Our approach is to integrate traditional wisdom with innovation. In architecture this implies building homes using local materials. Here we have granite, wood, clay tiles and cork for insulation. It also means designing efficiently, so the houses not only have a low embodied energy, but they also do not need much added energy to stay cool in summer and warm in the winter. The roofs will have photovoltaic cells for transforming sunlight into electricity. Grey water will be reused for irrigation. The sewerage system will incorporate bio-filtration, so that the end product will be useful as compost.
The one bedroom hobbit-houses will be bermed into the side of the hill, each one a cosy nest, with round windows, an archway door, and a living roof. The two and four bedroom homes will have traditional tiled roofs. Each home will have a private garden, with magnificent views from the verandahs and patios. Only a short walk away will be the swimming lake, the vegetable gardens, the orchard gardens and “Restaurante Rota 22”, for a morning coffee, a Sunday lunch, or a musical evening in the pub/bar.
There are many delights to be discovered in the Beira Alta region. For the adventurous, the Village is on Grand Route 22, which is a network of ancient caminhos that have been woven together to form a 550 km circular route. Aldeia do Artesão lies directly on this exciting route, between the two castle towns of Trancoso and Linhares da Beira. The Serra da Estrela mountain peaks are only 30km away, and visible from the valley. The local towns of Fornos de Algodres, Celorico da Beira, Trancoso, Mangualde, Guarda, Gouveia, and Viseu each have their unique charms, and provide all services. The surfing beaches of Aveiro are 100 km along the A25 highway. Coimbra, Porto and Lisbon can be easily reached by train, bus or on the fast and often empty highways.