The house consists of two rooms: a kitchen and a bedroom. It has a typical front wall chimney with only one opening to the exterior (the entrance door). It is a traditional Alentejo building typology located on the main street in the historic core of the City Castle.
The construction is faced, on its eastern and western sides, by two similar typologies that have been altered over the years. A withdrawn second floor was built to the East, and to the West a second floor was added on the street side.
Originally consisting of single floor houses with two strand roofs, homogeneous slopes and substantially aligned rooftops, punctuated by chimneys and a few whitewashed skylights, these new interventions break the continuity of the traditional roofs at the core of the castle.
At its south side, the house faces a construction built in the space usually devoted to the backyard. At the top of this construction, facing south, it's possible to catch a glimpse of the city wall and one of its towers, as well as roofs and trees of the historical centre outside walls, and further away the mountainous topography characteristic of this region.
The program stipulated by the client consists on the refurbishment of the building for residential purposes. It is intended to provide the construction with a kitchen, storage room, a bathroom as well as adequate lighting and ventilation.
The project was set up with the aim of an appropriate integration of the stipulated program, taking into account the context described above regarding volumetric and architectural language. Special attention was also given to the study of natural light.
Given the exiguousness of the area (38m2 area and gross floor area of 27.7 m2) the wall dividing the two interior rooms was demolished in order to gain space.
On the South side a small patio was created to ensure adequate lighting and ventilation. The restroom and the kitchen are organized around this patio.
On the North side, taking advantage of the chimney placement, is the living room. On the West side, a staircase leads to the mezzanine bedroom, and to a skylight that takes us to the terrace/gazebo, where we can enjoy the view towards south. On the southern roof, a single glass roof tile allows a small entry of light as is traditionally seen in Alentejo.
With this organization, three types of natural light sources were established. Firstly a direct light from the South is obtained through the skylight (because of its withdrawn window this skylight protects the interior of the house from the strong direct impact of the sun during the summer, allowing at the same time the use of solar energy during the winter). Secondly through the yard, an indirect lighting source is created providing a soft light, also controlled by the trellis fenestration. Finally the single glass roof tile provides a punctual light source marking the course of the day.
Given the limited space of this typology, as well as the intention to respect its volumetry in order to maintain its harmony with the historical centre, the project was given the minimum measurements though still ergonomic.
Given the proliferation of modern buildings in Portugal, who disguise themselves with traditional decorative elements, and neo-modernist buildings that deny their context in order to satisfy the architects' own egos, this project seeks timeless characteristics, evoking ancestral memories of this region.
Conceptually, an architectural language of rehabilitation was used that explores the limit between two typical attitudes: the "modernist" attitude as exposed in the Venice Charter, where the contemporary construction distinguishes itself from the existing heritage, and a more common approach that uses the "pastiche" of traditional architecture, though utilizing current materials and construction methods.
The result is a timeless language which reinterprets archetypes of traditional architecture from the region and from the very core of the city castle: chimneys, whitewashed pinnacles and skylights, Roman craft roof tiles, glass roof tiles, windows at the top of stairs, slotted stairs, patios, terraces, trellis in fenestration, whitewashed walls and hand made tiles.
Architecture: Pedro Rogado + Catarina Almada with Sofia Saraiva
Collaboration: Hugo Formiga + Joana Fonseca + Ana Lobo Faria
Structural Engineering: Servisteel – Soluções Técnicas e Engenharia, Lda – Eng. Mário Barata
Infrastructural Engineering: Servisteel – Soluções Técnicas e Engenharia, Lda – Eng. Carlos Guido
Client: Ana Cardoso