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House in Oporto

Squeezed in between other old buildings, this narrow house was in a desolate condition prior to its conversion. The architects took advantage of this situation to gut the building and to reorganize it completely. Only the granite outer walls and the load-bearing timber joists of the intermediate floors were retained. Internally, the house has been recreated as a vertical sequence of spaces, the dominant feature of which is perhaps the straight-flight timber staircase that cantilevers out from the side wall of the buiding.

One enters the house at the bottommost level, which is cut into the slope of the site and serves solely as an entrance zone. Above this, and separated from each other by a few steps, are the bedroom and bathroom. The central living space is situated one floor higher. It is divided into a sitting and dining realm by an open kitchen and a further jump in level. At the top of the four-storey building is an office space. By setting this volume back from the front facade it was possible to create a large roof terrace.

While the street face has been rehabilitated in its historical form as a rendered wall with openings and wrought-iron balustrades, the rear facade was designed as a continuous translucent wall consisting of corrugated polycarbonate sheeting. The use of this reasonably priced material is one reason why it was possible to make the conversion in such a cost-effective manner.

This article is taken out of the following magazine:
DETAIL 4/2009

Cost-Effective Buildings

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