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buildings which was also employed for this house. ‘Gaiola de madeira’, a wooden criss-cross framework, laced with sticks and vegetable fibres, were integrated into the walls, making them more flexible and resistant. In true ‘Pombaline’ style the windows were vertical as construction methods at the time required resistant walls to be as continuous as possible.

The original Pombaline section on the right and modernist extension on the left

It’s a traditional noble house associated with the landed gentry, and different to the more exuberant houses that sprang up at the end of the 19th century on the back of industrialisation and commerce; a prime example being ‘Casa das Palmeiras’, the pink abandoned manor house by the new Câmara building. Frederico shows me photographs and maps of Lagos where the house and land are clearly visible. In a photograph from 1936 the original small house is shown but by 1947 it has been extended and modernised, probably for practical reasons, adding much needed space, and introducing some facilities such as bathrooms. “The soul of the building is a dialogue between the Pombaline style with its vertical windows and ‘gaiola’ frame, and Modernist style with its horizontal windows and early concrete structure, composed of slabs and beams,” Frederico says. I will be interested to see to what extent the present modification of the house has taken this into account.

It is interesting to note that the house spanned land on both sides of the city walls. According to Frederico, it’s likely that the construction of the city wall in the 16th century divided the property in two. In order to have immediate access, a hole in the wall was made, shown clearly in the photograph from the 1940s. “It was totally unauthorised,” he says, “It is still in a precarious state but nothing has been done about it. Heritage authorities seem to pretend it doesn’t exist!” The land beyond the wall belongs to the council and is part of the development of the city’s urban park. And who lived in the house and worked the land at this time? Known as ‘Casa do Jogo da Bola’ or ‘Casa Salvador Mateus’, it belonged to the family Mateus since the 1940s. Having subsequently rented it out to another family for some time, it was sold to Lagos Câmara some years ago. In 2014 Veronique appeared on the scene and bought the house and adjoining land inside the walls. Having a much clearer idea of the history of the place, I am now ready to have my grand tour. Veronique meets me by the main house and having donned bright yellow hard hats, we set off. The original manor house looks fresh and distinctly different to the old photos. The whitewashed exterior has certain symmetry and I count additional horizontal windows and balcony doors.

Casa Mãe; ongoing renovation work

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Tomorrow August 2016  
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