Whereas once a house was a home, the new generation of architects see a house as a piece of sculpture. Which makes Villa 1095 in Vale do Lobo, southern Portugal, something of a masterpiece and its creator Vasco Vieira of Algarve-based Arqui+ an artist using architecture as his medium. With soaring vertical walls (“almost like a fortress,” says Vieira), living areas that are almost entirely transparent (“a suspended glass cube,” is how he describes the main reception room), and a swimming pool that appears to float above a reflecting pool (“a sculptural element”), this is a trophy house of spectacular form and epic volumes.

“The new ‘Fallingwater’,” titles the press release that announces Vila 1095’s recent completion. Whether it can really be compared to Frank Lloyd Wright’s celebrated house built on top of a waterfall is for debate but there is no doubt that the Vale do Lobo residence takes inspiration from Fallingwater’s pioneering elements – brining the outdoors in and questioning the very notion of what a house should be. And of course, Villa 1905’s series of cascading pools (there is a third indoor pool in the basement that receives water from the reflecting pool above), give more than a nod to the natural setting of Lloyd Wright’s iconic house.

Perhaps a more accurate comparison would be to Philip Johnson’s Glass House, which so many new buildings attempt to reference. At Villa 1095 the idea of a structure built only from glass has evolved into a house that is only partially transparent to the outside – both as a method of separating the public and private spaces and also as a reaction to the site which in parts is overlooked by neighbouring properties. Internal and external wood panelling, as well as those strategically placed, never-ending walls, break up the glass house of old.

But references to other residences do not give credit to that fact that Vieira’s villa is utterly unique with cinematic qualities such as the floating staircases that bisect its profile. Like any great sculpture Villa 1095 has an allure all of its own that is impossible to define.