Algarve architect wins EU prize for creating “expandable house”

A house that can expand “at the touch of a button” was the innovative project that saw Algarvean architect Anabela Macieira win a €8,900 EU prize.

While it’s still just a blueprint, the idea is that the one-bedroom, 160sqm “Drawer House” will be able to expand by an additional 75sqm when needed – giving the homeowner three extra bedrooms.

Without getting too technical, the house will use a system of sliding walls, windows and roofs built into the main structure to expand and contract.

“It is common to see big houses in the Algarve that are empty in the winter but fill up in the summer. With this house, space can be saved when it isn’t fully occupied without compromising its ability to house more people when needed,” the architect explained.

Her project was one of 39 winning ideas of the EU Wider programme, devised to “support innovative ideas put forward by small and medium-sized companies”.

It was also one of the three that were presented in Brussels to the European Commission (EC) at the end of May.

“I had to keep it all a secret until the Wider programme ended this month,” she told us.

Macieira has used her prize money to hire help from researchers at the University of Thessaloniki in Greece.

Now, her plan is to attract other investors to bring the project to fruition.

For more technical information on how Macieira’s extraordinary expandable house stretches to accommodate new guests, visit: