Starting from the ground up

Nick Myall
Monday 22 Jan 2018

The complete demolition of an existing structure was necessary before this project in Portugal could get off the ground

Designed by José Carlos Nunes de Oliveira, this project involved demolishing a single-family dwelling and building another one in its place in the centre of V. N. de Famalicão in Portugal. The house is situated on a triangular urban plot of land covering an area of 940.80 m2. The topography includes a 7.60 m slope from west to east, so the elevations in the corner converge with those on the surrounding roads.The building on the site was of poor quality. Everything was demolished apart from the garage, below the elevation of the patio with level access from the road at the lower level. 

The surrounding walls also held back the earth, below the street level to the west and above street level to the east. The house has a 367.20 m2 footprint and a gross area of 408.90 m2 on two floors. Floor 0 is 99.30 m2 and it was rehabilitated and expanded, preserving the garage, entrance, vertical access and storage area. Floor 1, at the level of the interior of the plot, is 309.60 m2, and this is where the main structure of the house is – service area, social zone and reserved zone (bedrooms). 

The land is highly exposed because of the different topographies between the adjoining streets. This is why the house sits 1 m from the western boundary, below the street and does not show any wall or elevation. It is closed to the north for urbanistic and thermal reasons. This is also why the house is open to the east where light enters the kitchen and the whole of the south-facing front is open under a curved shade cover. The illumination of the other rooms comes from small patios cut out of the volume.

Patio 1, allows access from Rua Vieira da Silva

Patio 2, illuminates the dressing room and the bathroom attached to the main bedroom

Patio 3, illuminates the 3 bedrooms

Patio 4, for service, illuminates the kitchen and laundry

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