There had already been a project for the Tixa House, on another site. The clients eventually opted for something more urban and the location changed, although it remained in the same city. The program, however, was left practically unaltered.

The site, as is often the case, is made up of two lots of a housing layout.
Its difference lies in the view it has of the Castle. The castle of Santa Maria da Feira, once Vila da Feira, is a rare example of a fortified structure, which really seems to have come straight out of a Grimm’s fairy tale.
Located in an oak wood on the hillside, it differs from the siting of castles we’re used to, which for defence are sited on hilltops or mountaintops.
It was its privileged location that motivated the purchase of the site.
The tight, and happily so, parameters defined in the development plan conditioned the various proposals that were prepared for the site. But the client, brief and designer remained the same.
Nonconformity, dissatisfaction, the lack of conviction and the search for better, led to the study and rejection of various proposals. The conviction was shared between the future users and the designer. The successive attempts came out of a common necessity.
Persistence always yields better results than conformity.
The Tixa House II is a result of the interpretation, perhaps of the subversion of the questionable rules imposed by the local development plan.
These are the usual and troubling principles of Portuguese urban planning, which define the making of landscape. It is both possible and necessary to subvert this and it’s up to us to do so.
The defined and legal boundaries are expressed by two walls. One, twenty four meters long, along the front of the site, and another, shorter one, perpendicular to it, on the western edge.
The wall forms an open top container, where the rectangular three storey volume of the brief is fitted.
Street level is connected to the living areas. The upper floor contains the four family bedrooms. The lower floor the play spaces.
This volume has a metal structure which supports the L shaped boundary wall.
To the east, the volume of the garage and store is at right angles to that of the house, fitting into the geometry of the site.
The vertical planes are filled in between the structural elements by means of timber cladding; floors and balconies are also clad in timber. A system of sliding and folding shutters allows for the transformation of the volume from open by day, to closed in the evening, and also allows for controlling the sunlight when it is too strong.
The fragile imagery of bolted Meccano is intended to contrast with the brutality and opacity of the concrete.
Inside, spaces are interconnecting to the extent that privacy allows for it.
There is interconnection also between inside and outside.
Despite the tightness of the site, the intention is to provide for the enjoyment of the outside areas, both visually and physically.
The space in between the concrete wall and the volume of the living space allows for openness without the loss of privacy. To the north, is a garden directly related to the areas of the living and dining rooms. To the west, at the level of the lowest floor, a mirror of water is in dialogue with the swimming pool.
And the castle is a glance away.

Gaia, 7.05.2009

Carlos Castanheira

Ficha Técnica

Project: Casa Tixa II

Client: Cristina Rosa e Paulo Valente Marques

Site: Santa Maria da Feira

Date: Outubro 2008

Architecture: Carlos Castanheira, Arqtº
Carlos Castanheira & Clara Bastai, Arqtos Lda.

Aikaterini- Angeliki Dimiri
Marta Oliveira
Patrícia Carvalho
João Figueiredo

House Tixa II
Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal | 2008