19th century building in Porto´s historical centre adapted for two sisters and their families
A curious client brief – to adapt a 19th century building in the historical centre of the city of Porto into houses for two sisters and their families – led to a singular residential scheme. The building’s need for natural light in its centre, due to its typical dimensions (6m wide, 26m long, 4,5m floor height, ground floor + 3 floors), motivated the re-interpretation of the traditional pre-existent skylight, previously destroyed, a recurrent solution for illuminating this type of building’s staircases.
This central space becomes the project’s key element, articulating distinct functions. Accessible from the main entrance hall, it is delimitated by glass panels which allow its complete isolation from the rest of the house(s), at the same time establishing physical contact between both houses. These are therefore connected by this vertical interior patio invaded by zenithal light. The originality of this solution is also due to a certain subversion of the conventional spatial sequence and hierarchy in these kind of dwelling’s organisation: the separation between private and social areas is not obtained by a succession of progressively more private rooms, but by this strongly illuminated patio, the most interior space and yet the less intimate.
Porto Architects: Nuno Valentim Lopes, Frederico Eça, Maria Milano Collaborators: Joana Sarmento, Margarida Ramos, Carlos Janeco, Cláudia Alves Developer: Marta Santos, Joana Santos Project / Construction: 2003/ 2010 Construction Area: 530 m sq Engineering: Prof. Eng. Vasco Peixoto de Freitas, Eng. João Miguel Bastos, Rodrigues Gomes e Associados Contractor: Empalme / Soemfis Photography: João Ferrand