Location: Porto, Portugal
Status: Private Commission
Built Project Team: Filipe Magalhães, Ana Luisa Soares, Ahmed Belkhodja, Rute Peixoto, Lera Samovich, Paulo Sousa
Landscape architect: Pomo
Surface area: 70m2
Contractor: Engilaco lda
Photography: Ricardo Loureiro
A bourgeois 19th-century house is divided into four identical living spaces sharing a private backyard. The project happens within a given system of constraints, aiming at an unexpected complexity, finding interest within a very banal set of decisions. The front façade is almost unchanged. The shabby tiles are replaced by polished green marble contrasting with the roughness of the existing granite frames.
Only a circle of white marble is added to balance the composition. Unorthodox everyday spaces are built according to a clearly defined syntax and grammar. The four living rooms are different from each other while sharing the same language, the same set of figures: the stepped wall, the curved surface, two doors (one pink and one green), a stripped wooden floor. The back façade is rebuilt. It becomes taller to match the neighbor’s scale, like a mask or a temple, with two square windows framing interior scenarios.
The polished surface has a bold pattern of vertical stripes assembled with white, green, and black marble, creating a rich, yet flat, exterior appearance. The entrance door is hidden within the pattern; a brass circle on top ends the piece. The pattern disguises the scale of the building and its program while being unnecessarily exuberant. The back façade becomes a painting for neighbors to look at, the main façade for private use.