The aim was to design the architectural project for a residential building located on the corner lot of Rua Castilho and Padre António Vieira. Until then, there was an office building – designed by the architect Tomás Taveira – to which the new owner decided to give a new use, apartments, in accordance with the high standards already present in the area. Among other buildings, in the Hotel Ritz.
The project starts with the initial desire to recycle part of the existing reinforced concrete structure, adapting it to a completely new program and architecture. The logical programmatic desire to include balconies, as well as the finding, through surveys, that the built structure had deficiencies and was far from complying with the current regulations of the discipline, would determine the demolition of a high percentage of the structure, which should be profoundly reconfigured, reinforced, extended.
The fact that the corner is located in an area where there are several buildings taller than what is common in the city, as well as the proximity of Parque Eduardo VII with a more ambitious scale, largely justify the volume of this tower.
Assuming this singularity in the urban context, we tried to relate the building with the city in a broader sense, namely with the evocation of openings (present in most buildings), materiality (white stone) and sublimation of the luminosity and lightness so characteristic of Lisbon through textures and surfaces, whose expression varies with the evolution of light.
The urban relationship also translates into the construction of new possibilities to enjoy the extraordinary surrounding landscape that reaches 360 degrees on the upper floors, either through the creation of large balconies, or through the opening of new openings facing south, towards the Tagus and the Castelo de São Jorge, in what was a completely blind facade.
Finally, a crucial change is introduced with the change of the building's entrance door, previously on Rua Padre Vieira, to Rua Castilho in the direction of the monumental Parque Eduardo VII, with a scale more coherent with Castilho 203.
On a smaller scale of language definition, we tried to avoid the idea of ostentation or extravagance, essentially reflecting on notions of nobility and quality of design in the most diverse aspects of the project. Nobility that, in a first perception of the building, is felt in the treatment of surfaces, from the material options, to the detail, where one seeks to explore not so much an idea of ornament, but the expressive potential of matter.
The almost complete finishing of the facades with Vila Viçosa marble, the entrance in oxidized brass, the balconies lined with anodized bronze aluminum, or the large windows and balconies, are an outward sign of this logic. Inside, the first sign is located in the main atrium, designed with José Pedro Croft, where the space and the artist's work merge, which also incorporates the exterior landscape in games of perception that will challenge the attention of those who walk through that space.
This aspect is complemented by an extraordinarily demanding work in terms of details, which include several original accessories designed for this work, such as the interior handle of the main door, the spa pool spout and even - although its design is not original for this building - all exterior handles for the building and apartments.
The idea of noble scale is also explored and emphasized in the strong contrast between the stone grid that defines the facades, with a predominance of vertical lines, and the darker and warmer interior, characterized by the application of dark bronze anodised wood and aluminum. In the vertical lines in stone, the introduction of flutes on its surface, emphasize the verticality, elegance and explore the expression of the stone's mineral structure.