The Modernist

Faro is known to be the gateway to the Algarve region, but few are aware of the port city’s architectural heritage. Faro is an important centre of southern European modernism, with around 500 buildings that were built between 1920 and 1980 in the styles of Art Déco and South Modern. One of these buildings is “The Modernist”, located in the city centre and designed in 1977 by Portuguese architect Joel Santana. With its geometrically patterned tiles integrated into the concrete façade, wide windows and a flat roof, it is a typical example of South Modern architecture. The PAr architecture studio converted the former office building into an apartment building with six flats and transferred it to the present. The modernist style was reinterpreted, while the original spirit of the house was retained.
The studios, ranging in size from 40 to 45 square metres, open onto the pedestrian zone with a balcony or roof terrace and onto an inner courtyard on the opposite side. The red colour of the tiles adorning the façade is echoed by the linoleum flooring and the reddish-brown wood used for furniture, window frames and doors. The mint green of the kitchen unit and golden brass elements complement the colour scheme. Everything from materials to furniture to the details such as door handles and woolen blankets reflects the Mid Century Modern style.
The design and materials are all from Portugal. The furniture, mirrors and lamps designed by the architects were built by local craftsmen and artists, the iconic chairs and textiles are from Portuguese companies steeped in tradition, limestone was sourced from the Algarve and marble from the Alentejo region.
The outdoor facilities were also redesigned or supplemented: the diagonal staircase adds an accent to the green patio framed by white walls. A shared terrace has been created on the rooftop — featuring an outdoor shower and affording views of the marina and the Ria Formosa Natural Park.

What to do

Discovering the city: old town and modernist buildings (with the operator’s guide “The Modernist Architecture Walking Tour”), culinary discoveries (market, restaurants), nature explorations by boat (Ria Formosa Natural Park, one of Portugal’s seven natural wonders), beaches (Ilha Deserta).

Why we like this house

The revival of an architectural gem in the sunny Algarve! The flats celebrate local design and craftsmanship and the style of Mid Century Modern. However, with their minimalist design they have a contemporary flair and are anything but outdated.

This house is great for

Architecture lovers!


All materials and products are sourced from Portugal (mostly from the Algarve) and made by local craftsmen and artists.
E-mobility: 2 e-charging stations in the marina (2-minute walk)


Region/Town PT – Portugal, Algarve, Faro
Name The Modernist
Scenery Beach town facing the Marina, Ria Formosa Natural reserve and the ocean.
Number of guests Max. 2 in each of the 6 apartments
Completed 1977, 2021
Design Joel Santana, PAr (Vânia Fernandes, Susana dos Santos Rodrigues, Joana Carmo Simões), Lisbon
Published National Geographic June 2021
Special Features The Modernist architecture walking tour !
Architecture Old & new
Accomodation Apartment
Criteria 1-2 (house/apartment), Beach, Pet-friendly, Sea, Urban, Wine, EV-charging station
Same ArchitectCasa Modesta

Availability calendar

The calendar displays the current availability of the accommodation. Days with a dark grey background are not available, while days in light grey or white are available for bookings.


Write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
For booking enquiries, please contact the respective accommodation. How does HOLIDAYARCHITECTURE work? Read our FAQ.