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The Construction of Villa Além

Ana Resende, Tiago Costa, Miguel C. Tavares, Rui Manuel Vieira

The unveiling of a unique house.

"The landscape of the Portuguese region of Alenteyo is unique. Somewhere near the coast, the Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati and his wife Tamara found a spot to build a house to live in for part of the year. Matching personal desires with one’s work life represents an achievement that should be documented to record the passion and effort required", wrote Paola Ricco, former editor at The Architecture Player, presenting "The Construction of Villa Além", now exclusively available on our VOD channel.

Being given free reign, filmmakers Ana Resende, Miguel C. Tavares, Rui Manuel Vieira, and Tiago Costa were challenged by the architect to document the building process. The result of this long period of careful observation is the documentary "The Construction of Villa Além".

The house is based on a long-conceived design that materialized into significant contemporary architecture. Its planning and construction were carried out with the utmost care. Olgiati's "buen retiro" derives from the intention to create a secluded garden in that special countryside.

"The film follows the construction of the house. Step by step in slow rhythm the unique elements of the house are unveiled, such as forms, details and its relationship with the landscape," wrote Paola Ricco. "The camera meanders onto the building site and records some relevant moments of the process. Rather than following the linear construction path from the beginning to the end of the works, the film conveys the atmosphere of the building site, where careful attention is paid and patient evaluations are made. This is a special piece of architecture, uniting form and aesthetics and demanding great skill in its manufacturing. Time is required for the process to be successful, and the camera leisurely observes the process".

"Throughout the film,” as reported by the filmmakers, “Villa Além appears forever incomplete, forever under construction. The building process is a spectrum here, or perhaps, an excuse for an opportunity to document and experience a rare work. What is suggested is a journey through time to arrive at the inception of the idea. In the film, as in the house, one is left helpless in the succession of shots, alone with the images and the sounds, freed from words that might direct you, hoping that mystery and seduction may be found within the minimum of means and expressions."


Architect: Valerio Olgiati Architect
Mentioned project: Villa Alem (2013-2014)
Project location: Alentejo, Portugal
Produced by: Ana Resende
Filmed by: Miguel C. Tavares, Rui Manuel Vieira, Tiago Costa
Montage by: Miguel C. Tavares, Tiago Costa
Color: Rui Manuel Vieira
Sound design and post-production: Eduardo Magalhães, José Ricardo Barboza
Selected and distributed by: The Architecture Player

Portugal 2017
Duration: 55'