an oversized house is barely a house. the very long narrow plot used to accommodate shabby offices and a spacious warehouse. a fearless client aimed at transforming this clutter into a home. a soon to be living room could easily have a dozen of cars parked in there.
the structure of the existing building suggests two parts. a conventional front facing the street is an object on its own that has a dull facade, two levels and a disarray of rooms, while the back part is vast space under a gable roof supported by heavy wooden beams.
the project is conceived as a series of cuts across the lengthy perimeter. five facets are reassessed and introduced to order the extensive space. the two parts are now separated with an inner courtyard. the building in front takes in a series of small apartments, dividing the space with a number of slight gestures. the warehouse simply turns into a massive living room that is then interrupted by one curved wall. a proper kitchen and a monumental fireplace are the only hints of uncertain domesticity.
the five facets are addressed as a gang of elevations. each has a character of its own but they share apparent similarities. a grid of black dots attempts to make sense of the concrete structures and defines the figure of the facades. reoccurring pairs of windows, yellow doors, green shutters and surfaces of glass brick correspond to intricate rooms, devise tense compositions and charismatic personas. the former warehouse is a house of many faces.
project title: house of many faces
location: porto, portugal
design team: filipe magalhaes, ana luisa soares, ahmed belkhodja, lera samovich, ana lima, rute peixoto, joão carlos lopes
project team: paulo sousa (engineering), mp+pf (engineering), joao magalhães (landscape), civiflanco (contractor)
photography: francisco ascensao, giulietta margot, rory gardiner, ivo tavares, matilde viegas, fala