When the place draws the project.
The Carvalhosa´s house is built on an interior plot (a yard of an older house), with a narrow access to the street by a three-meter-wide gate cut in a granite masonry wall. The plot, located in Carvalhosa’s rural historic centre, is totally defined by the high masonry walls of the adjacent old buildings. Despite the strict contour of its shape, the south and west orientations combined with the two-level terraced topography, make it quite sunny and with wide open views over the surrounding green fields.
The project goes along the topography and was developed on two levels, each at one of the existing terraces. The ground floor takes shape from the redefinition of the existing retaining wall and includes all the functional spaces of the dwelling (kitchen, laundry, and storage rooms). This is the stereotomic part of the house, the part that belongs to the land, as a metaphor of a cave. A wood-covered volume floats above the reinforced concrete base, executed in a reticulated metallic structure. It corresponds to the tectonic part of the house, like a hut. The bedrooms were designed inside the wooden volume and have direct access to the upper terrace transformed into a garden. The void left between the two volumes (the stereotomic and the tectonic) shapes the living room, with a double height ceiling. The living room is the heart of the house and the most important space to the family which will live in.
Some places may point out all the characteristics of a project in advance. When it happens, the architect's job should be nothing more than observing and responding attentively.
Paços de Ferreira, PT