Central Alentejo, Portugal, amongst 780-hectares of ancient Holm oaks, olive groves, and vineyards, lies the nearly two-century-old estate of São Lourenço do Barrocal. In the 19th century the property served as home to some 50 families – all living and working together in a uniquely tight knit, self sufficient community complete with its own chapel, schoolroom, winery and bullring. A century later, the eighth generation heir to the estate, José António Uva grew up summering in Barrocal, while hearing romantic stories of how things used to be. These stories and the sheer unspoiled beauty of the land stayed with José into adulthood, later, driving his ambitious dream for a renaissance – where he could breathe new life into the land of his ancestors.
the role of both property owner and head developer, José began the process of transformation with a period of intensive research alongside a team of archaeologists, landscapers and architects. As the period of discovery unfolded, a vision for something exciting emerged – the opportunity to fortify what was already there, while building out a vibrant housing development, hotel, spa, restaurant and more – each one supported and driven by the estate’s innate beauty, resources and agricultural capabilities.
of the project began at the “monte” – a collection of original farm buildings – which José and his team brought carefully back to life in the form of an understated luxury hotel complex.
“The only way to preserve heritage is to live with it and use it.” – Eduardo Souto De Moura
with the task of building out this new world, was Pritzker Prize-winning architect Eduardo Souto De Moura. Whether it came to transforming an avenue of old barns and forges into affordable homes or designing new freestanding residences – the architect ensured all the luxuries of modern day living while maintaining a strong connection to the property’s past. He achieved this through a policy of preservation and historical referencing, the results of which are readily visible today in the sculptural brick arches, clay tiled floors and simple plaster walls found throughout the new Barrocal. The interior design and furnishings are the work of Lisbon-based design firm Anahory Almeida.
São Lourenço do Barrocal stands again as a bustling community, where guests and residents can settle into the “rural rhythms” of Antlejan life while maintaining access to the luxuries of modern living. The area’s small restaurant offers the freshest produce, simply prepared and served up in a renovated barn, the estate’s winery pours its own vintages at shaded tables in a former bullring, and the local spa and pool offer respite from the hot summer sun. In the expanse that encompass Barrocal’s property limits, there’s ample room for exploration via one of the estate’s horses or bicycles and miles of lakeside coastline offer further outdoor opportunities in the form of lounging, boating and picnicking.
fascinating project in both preservation and evolution, Barrocal’s thriving transformation serves as a model for an Alentejo region that remains, in many ways, pristinely untouched but never fully immune to the wheels of time and pressures of modern-day life. For more information we recommend a visit to São Lourenço do Barrocal’s site at barrocal.pt. You won’t be disappointed!
1. Handcrafted Rockport Bench in Walnut
2. Jielde Lamp
3. White Sullivan Table Lamp
4. Leather Adnet Rectangulaire Mirror
5. Smeg Refrigerator
6. Bestlite BL9XL Pendant Light in Black
7. Carrara Marble Wine Holder