Mass appeal

Jorge Mealha Arquitectos completes house designed to reduce its visual impact on the surroundings

by James 30 December 2010
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    Located at Alto do Lagoal in Paço de Arcos, a neighbourhood of Lisbon facing the sea, this house has been built on a sloping site and proposes as main strategy an arrangement of several solids in order to attenuate the overall mass due to the functional program requested by the client. This arrangement of different solids and voids, uses large plain surfaces and some in-between tensioned spaces to let light draw or reflect on the objects, emphasising geometry and proposing a changeable reading of form and space during the day.

    Light is used as a main tool to draw this house. Interior space is always changing during the day - or even at night when full moon spreads silver light throughout - using either direct light or reflected light to create changeable graphic or tonal effects all trough walls and pavements. Externally, a precise positioning enhances the relation between the several solids, playing with its voids in between or accentuated balances.

    This strategy, emphasises tension and dilutes scale through a set of effects of shaded, exposed or even reflected surfaces, composing sometimes a scenario of complex graphic figures. Part of the internal circulations, as the staircase, the bridge in between the two main bodies of the house and the corridor are built in metal plates slightly detached from the walls, leaving opportunity for light, caught by the long skylight to pass in between and spread to the lower floors. In the external areas, namely the west and south garden around the house, a set of a few volumes used as flower boxes or to hide some external staircases, organise the space creating a sense of continuity with the solids used to create the main building.


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