After ten years had gone by, I was called upon to design a new house on a site adjoining that of the first one that I had designed and seen built.
An interesting challenge, not very common, but something that nonetheless makes the profession of the architect a constant challenge.
Confronting what exists on a site, be it buildings, the natural terrain or the landscape, is always a constant that impacts on the act of designing.
To ignore them or take them out of context is to defy reality. An architect cannot go about in fancy dress and full of exaggerated mannerisms.
The existence of the Valente Marques house to the west, was accepted as the original context, but was also seen as the specific experience of those people and their brief at that particular time. The Valente Marques house would certainly have taken a different form had the process taken place some time later.
The Célia house, although with a somewhat different brief, also reflects the passing of the years and this architect’s preoccupation in tackling the theme of the house. Its arrangement, but more importantly the use of materials, durability and maintenance were important considerations, so that errors that could be observed in earlier buildings, and in particular in the neighbouring Valente Marques House, could be corrected.
The steepness of the site and the panoramic views were crucial in the choice of design options.
A slight curve in the volume allows all of the surrounding landscape to be taken in, without intruding on the privacy of the neighbouring house.
On arrival, the house seems to have two storeys, but in fact it has three. The volume of the garage accommodates the difference in level on the site to the north and is connected to the volume of the main house by a system of covered areas, allowing for circulation between internal and external spaces. The living areas are distributed on the ground floor. On the upper floor are the three bedrooms. In the lower, semi-basement floor there are service and storage areas.
The three floors are connected by a central void that brings light to the lower levels and will allow, in case it is ever needed, the installation of a lift.
Retaining walls shape the site, reducing the impact of the steep slope, creating living spaces, garden areas and to the east, an orchard.
The house is clad in panels of copper sheeting over a base of granite blocks. The patina that the copper will acquire over time will be an added value.
If in eight years time I was asked to design another house beside these two, it would certainly be a different one where the options and mistakes made with the first two would be corrected.
Or at least I would try.

May of 2009
Carlos Castanheira

Ficha Técnica

Célia Regina Pinto Coelho
Mário Rodrigues

Lugar de Adães- UI
Oliveira de Azeméis - Portugal

Project Date:
January 2000 / September 2002

December 2002 / December 2004

Architecture Project:
Carlos Castanheira
Carlos Castanheira & Clara Bastai, Arqtos Ldª

Isabel Carvalho
Luís Calheiros
João Figueiredo (3D)

Specialities Projects:
Armandina Rodrigues, Engª Civil
Carlos Castanheira, Arqtº

Paulo Fidalgo, Eng. Civil
HDP- Gabinete de Projectos, Engenharia Civil, Ldª

Fernando Guerra
FG + SG - Fotografia de Arquitectura
Célia house
Lugar de Adães - Ul - Oliveira de Azeméis - Portugal | 2000 - 2004