Studio: Miguel Marcelino
Authors: Miguel Marcelino
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
General aspects: This apartment, built in the 80s, has problems that are typical of the architectural debilities of most of the Portuguese housing buildings of the second half of the XX century: low ceilings throughout the house, subdivided spaces, long narrow kitchens, winding corridors and numerous protrusions of pillars and beams that reveal an unresolved conflict between structure and architecture.
The intervention seeks to reduce the usual sectioning between kitchen, hall, corridors and living room, creating a fluid space with large visual fields and richer possibilities of appropriation. The bedrooms maintain a private character and the toilets are redrawn so as to break the feeling of claustrophobia. Protruding structural elements of beams and pillars will have its concrete re-exposed, without shame, and together with the new wooden elements, will contribute to the new atmosphere of the apartment, reigniting the qualities and pleasure of living in an apartment, in a city.
Why did you choose this category?: The clients had a clear idea that the current state of the apartment was not the ideal environment for living and so they wanted to reorganize the space in order to meet their needs as a young couple with two small children.
First we needed to free the space to achieve the maximum use of social areas, making it a much wider and luminous space ideal for family life and keeping the use of three rooms that were made small and functional.
Secondly there was a need for an office room that could be used by everyone in the family, so we've thought of a space that would not be a classical closed room, but open to the social life of the apartment. This way, life possibilities are increased and parents could keep an eye on their kids while they are sitting or in the kitchen area.
When we look at these two premises we realise that a family apartment is a careful articulation of collective and personal dynamics that are constantly changing especially as kids grow older.
As architects we have a responsibility to be especially sensible to this articulation in order to be part of the solution to our everlasting condition of living together.