In Santa Cruz, Portugal, this renovated house is a part of project of six semi-detached houses originally constructed in the 1980s. Located on the corner of the block, this house features a new program based on optimal amounts of natural light, with a stronger relationship between floors and as well as a strengthened connection between exterior and interior living areas.
Central to the renovation by Manuel Tojal Architects is a straight staircase that links the floors together and turns them to the outside. Designed as a void and excavation/subtraction of the pre-existing building the staircase terminates at the roof patio, which was previously unused. The architect explains in this way the staircases becomes a ‘patio’ and the bedrooms, previously with only windows to the main façade now have a relationship with the skylight.
Interior materials, such as pinewood and brass were favoured material choices due to their association with nautical and maritime environments.
Exterior materials are applied to highlight the divide of the building volume into two uses being the housing program and the street-level parking program. The bottom floors of the building are distinguished with the use of heavier, darker wood/cement panels from Viroc while the upper volume rendered in white to suggest a lighter and more delicate materiality.