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The house - the first floor of a 1900 "gaioleiro" building situated near the east wall of the St. George Castle - had been inhabited until quite recently and was in good condition, but the new owner, a Parisian citizen who made Lisbon his second city since thirty years ago, did not feel comfortable: the existing bathroom - a recent change to the original house organization - was a little compartment that opened blatantly to the entrance door through a hall with which all compartments communicated; excluding this bathroom and the kitchen, coated with various materials, as ostentatious as the majority of fittings and equipment, all the walls, ceilings and carpentry were painted in white fridge, commonplace in the present day.  Moreover, the householder wanted part of the furniture - cloakroom, fitted wardrobes; storage room, the bed - to be part of the house.

A particularly clear briefing was initially established by the client:

" (...) Transformer un appartement petit bourgeois et hétéronormé en un lieu mélancolique et stimulant à la fois, protecteur, tirant avantage des respirations avec l’environnement extérieur et de la lumière, des ambiguïtés de l’immeuble et du quartier, qui génère par son organisation une fluidité de circulation, et spécifiant l’humeur et des lieux, tout en affirmant la dimension affective, narrative et réconfortante par les choix de matières, de couleurs. (...) Par des interventions mobiles et potentiellement indépendantes du projet initial (même si elles en constituent une sorte de métonymie), affirmer sa dimension subjective et politique. (...) Créer une dialectique entre le solide et le flottant. (...)" 


The project was based on four relatively simple operations:

- A set of new elements - closets, a pivoting door that organizes the hall in two parts, a folding panel between two living rooms, a window-counter linking the kitchen to the dining room, a daybed, an alcove library - made of painted or exposed afzelia and nut wood, which do not seem to touch the floor, the walls and ceilings reorganize the house and the connection between its rooms, the bathroom and the kitchen;

- A hidden door, discovered in the original building project, was reopened, transforming the visual relation between the various rooms, and above all
allowing one to walk through the house in multiple ways;

- All the walls were coated between the baseboards and the original crown moldings, and had their corners rounded off, in order to emphasize the shape and character of every space: tiles in the kitchen and in the bathroom; slightly textured wallpaper, hand painted in different colors, in the rooms.

- The wooden flooring, window frames (which had been replaced with lacquered aluminum) and the doors, made of painted solid wood, were restored, and the ceilings made of decorated stucco, were preserved, except for the ceiling of the bathroom (the only inner compartment), which was transformed into a skylight, as if it were a small covered patio.

There was no need to touch the original building's supporting structure.


Design Team:

Architecture: José Neves

Collaborators: Rui Sousa Pinto, André Matos; João Pernão, Maria Capelo (colour consultants).

Awards and Nominations:

Selected Open House 2017

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