Architecture Travel

Casa de Chà by Álvaro Siza

The Boa Nova Casa de Chà is the first building by Portuguese architect and Pritzker prize winner Álvaro Siza Vieira. Originally built from 1958-63, the architect himself sensitively renovated the building in 2014. Today it houses the haute cuisine restaurant by chef Rui Paula.

It’s located at the coast of Leça da Palmeira, a small village near Porto. Siza placed the one story building directly into the rocky formations creating a unique union with the surrounding nature.

The path to the building is in itself interesting: No direct route leads from the parking lot to the hilly building ground. Instead the architect integrates several turns for the visitor to undergo including steps seemingly leading into the ocean. The name tea house already brings to mind the Japanese tradition of the tea ceremony which is closely related to Zen-Buddhism. Of course Siza is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright. Nonetheless the path to the tea house reveals a more profound engagement with Japanese architecture: In fact it can be read as a »rite of passage« known as a preliminary architecture element in Shinto temples.

The eastern façade is articulated with intersecting pitch roofs and white plastering incorporating the vernacular style. The west façade facing the ocean in contrast is committed to modern architecture: the raw concrete walls are organically »growing« out of the rocks and is opening up with a recessed ribbon glazing.

The Boa Nova Casa de Chà is easy to reach by car from Porto or Porto airport.

Rua da Boa Nova
4450 Leça da Palmeira