Casas do Torel
Year – 2020
Client – Benoit & Nathalie Pochebonne
Location – Torel, Lisbon, Portugal
GPS - 38°72'06.1"N 9°14'34.3"W
Site Area – 321,50 sq.m
Budget – 394.000,00€
Status – Build
Partners – Albuquerque Goinhas, Cristina de Mendonça, Nuno Griff
Project Team – Marion Gouges, Rui Neto, Marcelo Grilo
Engineering – Arqestrela (Miguel Neto)
Photography – MTG (Merces Tomaz Gomes)
In a small building in the historical centre of Lisbon (Jardim do Torel, Avenida da Liberdade), we were called to participate in a rehabilitation geared towards tourism. As the building had long stood abandoned and vacant, this was one of those operations that made sense at all levels, both private and public. The project thus brought with it a responsibility to reflect on gentrification processes and on the introduction of new social dynamics.
In a building already compartmentalised into four small housing units, it was necessary to study the potential for even greater compartmentalisation in order to attain eight units, something that from our point of view would only make sense if the reversibility factor could be maintained, i.e. maintaining the possibility that the new typologies would not become dependent on tourism and have the resilience of other forms of housing, including youth housing and student and transitional residences. The solution found was to work with the typologies in an open way, where the experience of the space is simultaneously that of the whole and of the part, with a clear and functional organisation guided by a large set fitting that divides, unites and organises daily life.
From the point of view of the whole, the potential of working with a given chromatic range was tested. The result is a refined chromatic study that develops in the opposite direction of the natural sequence of light available, with the colour changing as we climb the building or move from the south to the north façade. The eight flats thus participate in a gradation that darkens as we go up and increases in intensity as we move from south to north. Like a tree, the building is one but variant in its ascent in search of light, from the narrow street to the view over the river Tagus.
The result is eight welcoming spaces designed at the direct scale and service of the body. Even while remaining anonymous to each other, these spaces are related in a shared yet private whole.