Quelhas House

Lisbon, PT . 2010 - 2017

Quelhas House
Lisbon, PT . 2010 - 2017

The house is a conversion of an old multi-family building, located in Lapa, a historical area of ​​the city of Lisbon. The relationship with the urban fabric, close and far, the street and the wide panorama over the city, the play between private and public, shaped the articulation of the house. 

The house consists of a new body, with a similar volume to the pre-existing building. The geometry of the old facade, that os preserved, is the matrix for the new volume, being it the levels of the floors or the layouts of the plans.
The programme is articulated and segmented by floors : the ground floor, which acts as an entryway; the two floors immediately above it, which contain and separate the most intimate areas of the house: the children's and parents' bedrooms; and in the upper two, permeable to each other, are the social spaces: the living room where the old loft used to be, and the dining room immediately below it, including a terrace with a swimming pool with a view of the city.

The play between context and content generated the form.
The particularities of the site, namely its position within the city, in a historic urban fabric, and towards the city, offering wide views of the landscape, were the source of the adopted strategy.
The design swings between the confinement of the historical site and openness towards the horizon. On one hand, the preservation of the relationship with the surroundings, namely street, advised a silent intervention; on another, the presence of the city demanded an eagles nest.
The old facade was joined by a reinforced concrete structure, built in situ. That is the central element of the building's organic structure: the two support elements placed at either end are joined by the vertical circulation elements of the building (staircase and lift) at its East side, and sanitary and technical installations to the West. The space between the two is freed to be used by the inhabitants, establishing a hierarchy among them: the servitors and the serviced, to whom a preferential relation with the city is made possible.

The whole building relies on material resources and technologies common in portugal: reinforced concrete, wood, lime stone, hydraulic mosaic. They are used seeking to excess. Structure and conformation of space are inseparable. Design, attention to detail were the tools to dominate and accommodate all things, seeking naturalness through artifice.

Inês Lobo and Paulo Mendes da Rocha with João Rosário, Julia Varela, João Vaz
Structures and Installations: AFA Engenheiros Consultores

Photographer: Leonardo Finotti

Nomination for the Secil 2012 Prize

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