House in Fátima
The House, propriety of Oblatas do Divino Coração - a Catholic Congregation - was built in the mid-20th century. It’s placed on a hillside where you can see the Fátima’s Sanctuary across a privileged sightseeing and surrounding landscape, even though the house was closed in on itself.
Functional and constructive issues were found all over the place as the result of all kind of small interventions that took place over the past 15 years. Humidity, cold, and a gloomy house closed in on itself was the ultimate result.
The project purpose was very clear: open the interior to the outside, bring light to the inside, reorganize the interior spaces, and provide comfort and all the needs of a contemporary era to this unsuitable house.
Opening the house to the exterior and making new connections to the surrounding landscape allowed, from the very beginning, to restore and regenerate the original appearance of the building. Moreover, with more natural light brought to the interior, the environment and spaces were totally refreshed.
Concerning the space organization, the residence has three floors that can be simply descripted as follows: the ground floor, the entrance, and the social areas like the living rooms, dining room, kitchen, an office, and also a little chapel for praying and meditation. On the -1 floor, we can find the private areas with the bedrooms and space for resting. The staircase, near the ground floor entrance connects these two floors and also the attic, which was not subject to any kind of architectural intervention.
The reorganization was essential. The interior of the two floors in question, was reconsidered and redesigned, with new key pieces and restoring some old ones, thus merging the contemporary and the old in a delicate dialog. From the very beginning, it’s was clear the difference of these spaces and their environments in the two floors, although all the interior spaces were equally treated, with no distinction.
The redesign of the ground floor, where we have the entrance space was reconsidered, by opening he access stairs up until the attic, and a completely new design of the entrance and the corridors along the floor. The kitchen, with a huge upgrade to a more contemporary and adapted space, including a hatch connecting it to the dining room, which was a key piece of furniture joining these two spaces. We can find another living room, that works like a small library, and also a little office, close to the only bathroom of this floor, which, i n turn, can easily be transformed into a bedroom for a guest or someone with reduced mobility. Here, there is also a new chapel space, where the design of new small pieces allowed a more simple and pure space for meditation.
In the lower floor, there were shared rooms without comfort, some even without natural light. These were transformed into small individual and pleasant bedrooms, for resting and privacy. On the outside of this floor, the balcony was opened for a stronger relationship with the garden on the lower floor, and also for more qualified views to the surrounding landscape as already mentioned before.
It’s visible all the integrated furniture design and all the woodwork details that allow the continuity along the different spaces, such as living rooms or the hallways and aisles, all linked by a thorough work between friezes, shelves, sideboards and doors, a mechanism based in space-light-material mindset.
The original color of the furniture of the house, the dominant blue-grey shade, was recovered and reused like the color base of almost every new piece on the ground floor. Downstairs, where we have a large program, laundry room and five bedrooms, the key piece was the large box of wood that contained the bathrooms. That workpiece managed a completely new space with a special and particular atmosphere, which guide us into the bedrooms or to the outside garden.
Every step of the project was carefully considered, in pursuit of an intervention which respected the qualified pre-existences by giving some new contemporary values. The aim was to achieve a dialogic architectural intervention between the past and present time.