located in porto, portugal, fala atelier’s ‘house in rua do paraíso’ is a bourgeois 19th-century single-family house divided into a series of identical studio apartments. using what seems to be its favorite material — marble — the team makes the house an outstanding modern piece of art while preserving important elements of the construction ages.
all images © ricardo loureiro
the architects created four living spaces, some circulation areas, and a private backyard as a common area for the inhabitants. ‘the project happens within a given system of constraints, aiming at an unexpected complexity, finding a certain interest within a very banal set of programs,’ explains fala team.
unorthodox everyday spaces are built according to a clearly defined syntax and grammar: the four living rooms are different from each other while sharing the same language, the same set of figures. a defined number of elements — ‘morphemes’, as the team calls them — within which the project operates is maintained in every apartment: the stepped wall, the curve on the ceiling, two doors (one pink and one green), and the striped surface of the floor. fala aimed at creating a gallery space within a living one and looks like they managed it.
the front façade is almost unchanged — the shabby tiles are replaced by polished green marble contrasting with the roughness of the existing granite frames. a white marble circle peculiar to fala atelier’s style is added to balance the composition.
the back façade is rebuilt and became taller to be a ‘temple’ for the neighborhood scale, with two square windows framing interior scenarios. the polished façade has a bold pattern of vertical stripes assembled with white, green, and black marble, creating a flat, yet very rich surface.
the entrance door is hidden within the pattern and another circle on the roof — this time made of brass — completes the piece. the façade’s pattern disguises the scale of the building and its program while being proud and exuberant. the back façade becomes a painting for neighbors to look at, a privately used main façade.
team: filipe magalhães, ana luisa soares, ahmed belkhodja, rute peixoto, lera samovich, paulo sousa
landscape architect: joão magalhães
client: domingo discreto lda
contractor: engilaco lda
photography: ricardo loureiro