Calçada da Serra

Location: Calçada da Serra, 154, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Date: 2010
Gross Area: 77 m2

Briefing: Refurbish an apartment in a state of decay, implanted in a mid twentieth century building on the cliff overlooking the Douro river, to turn it into guest accommodation for tourists.

Intervention: In this renovation the main intention was to open-up an over-compartmentalized space in an advanced state of degradation and redefine the different areas of the house. By using built-in cabinets as much as possible and integrating most of the necessary furniture and equipment into the architecture itself it was possible to enlarge each compartment and expand the sense of space. In the new spatial configuration there was an inversion of the original layout with the cooking/eating/living functions coming together in the same space (with the option of turning it in an extra bedroom through a sliding panels system), taking advantage of the unparalleled views of the Douro River and the Historic Centre of Porto classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, while the sleeping quarters face the quiet street that goes down and up the hill. All compartments are now bathed by direct sunlight, bathroom and corridor included, and careful attention was given to the artificial light design, privileging indirect and spot lighting solutions. With respect to the materials used, there was a clear option for inexpensive materials like MDF boards varnished or painted for all the carpentry, locally produced cork flooring for the main spaces of the flat and slate stone pavement for the bathroom and stairs.