The Madalena House

The brief was given to me in a very clear, well defined manner: a living room, a kitchen, a small study, three bedrooms, a garage and some storage area, good use of external space and privacy.
The Madalena House and the elements of the brief were arranged over three volumes.
The central volume where the social areas are laid out, the volume to the west with the three bedrooms and two bathrooms and the volume, or annexe, to the east, characterized by the covered garage area and the volume of the store and technical areas.

The central volume predominates in relation to the other two, being a two storey volume expressing the living and dining rooms with their double height ceilings.

The geometrical dissimilarity between the volumes accentuates their differences. The connections between them are made by volumes with similar geometries.
I chose to use rough concrete for the load bearing walls, trying to avoid the super-perfect, technological, Japanese style of concrete that almost ceases to be concrete.
The rest was filled in with timber with glass structures.

A strange method of building, if compared with what is commonly done; something which led to various and curious speculations during the construction period.
With the floor slab cast and the walls erected and insulated, still without a roof or other floors while it waited for the carpenters to start on site, it looked more like a sculpture or installation of some kind. The speculation was that it was to be a new chapel or some other ill-defined thing which prolific imaginations are capable of coming up with.

No, it was just a house that, with its rough concrete walls, turns its back on the urbanity of the street to the north and opens up to the enjoyment of the garden, the sun, the light and the privacy that the agricultural land still offers.

Inside, the concrete walls give over to white plasterboard and pine from Riga which is used structurally in the ceilings, and again in the window frames, which also act structurally.

The floor is finished in slate both inside and outside to emphasize an intentional continuity.
Roof and weathering generally are in copper sheeting.

The study is the choir of the chapel space that characterises the living room.
Access to it, is via an apparently strange looking and awkward stairs, which turns out to be surprisingly comfortable when used.
This is the always desirable transgression and redress in a world of obtuse and inflexible rules.

Gaia, August 14th, 2008

Carlos Castanheira, Arch.

Ficha Técnica

Maria de Fátima Tavares dos Reis Poças

Rua do Cerro – Madalena
Vila Nova de Gaia – Portugal

2003 / 2008

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

Orlando Sousa
Vasco Melo
Ricardo Serra
Sofia Costa Reis
Demis Lopes
Luis Calheiros (3D)
João Figueiredo (3D)

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

A Construtora de Loureiro, Lda. (Empreiteiro Geral)
Henriques & Rodrigues, Lda.

Fernando Guerra
FG+SG – Fotografia de Arquitectura
Madalena House
Madalena - Vila Nova de Gaia - Portugal | 2003 - 2008