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The apartment is in one of the remarkable five public housing towers (class II), designed by Nuno Teotónio Pereira, Nuno Portas and António Pinto Freitas, for the Olivais Norte housing estate plan. Since its construction, in the early 1960’s, it had not undergone any relevant changes – a very rare thing.

With the house emptied of the previous tenants' furniture, the traces of life in the house over the last 60 years were mainly the varnish on the pine parquet floor, the layers of stain and the recent handles on the interior doors and the poor condition of both the bathroom and kitchen.

We chose to maintain some of these traces.

Regarding the doors, the varnish on the pine and mahogany frames was preserved. Only the handles were replaced, and the door leaf’s particle boards were restored to reveal their original exposed finish.

The kitchen underwent a series of precise interventions. The existing lioz stone counters were extended, integrating new appliances and cabinets with doors in afizélia plywood and handles, identical to the existing ones, in solid mahogany wood. The new cupboard, walls and splashbacks were coated with new paints.

The bathroom was reorganized and received a new glass tile covering, around a hydraulic mosaic "mat", identical to the existing mosaic on the kitchen floor.

In both cases, the oblique shape of the corners, made to integrate plumbing, was rounded.

The only changes in relation to the original organization of the space occurred at the two ends of the slightly broken axis that runs throughout the house: on the one hand, the position of the bathroom door was changed, removing it from the visual alignment of the corridor; on the other hand, two very small rounded walls were built in the kitchen in order to emphasize its original partition into two interconnected spaces and so that the balcony could no longer be seen from the entrance of the house. Now, at both ends, there are two illuminated walls, suggesting spaces that can not be immediately perceived.

There are plenty of occasions when the architect should accept the difficult task of making his passage discreet, that is, of being invisible to most eyes. This, for us, was one of them.

Design Team:

Architecture: José Neves

Collaborators: Carlos Almada, Fernando Vieira (project phase); Duarte Guerreiro (construction phase); João Pernão, Maria Capelo (colour consultants)

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