Reminiscences, Views, purist Currents

Reminiscences, Views, purist Currents

House in Lisbon

The House in Lisbon by ARX Portugal has two entirely different faces and an absolutely purist core.

The modern five-storied building picks up on the traditional Lisbon architecture in many aspects. This already starts with its dimensions of six metres in width and fifteen metres both in height and depth, which corresponds with those of the surrounding type of buildings. The front façade consists of the lioz limestone that is typical of Lisbon, forming a pattern of rectangular frames. This pattern on the one hand gives the façade a temporal quality, since different plays of shadow manifest over the day, and on the other hand reminds of the traditional windows of Lisbon architecture.

Reserve and Dissolution

At street level, the front façade is compact and closed as a defensive wall against the parking cars of the neighbours and the associated noise. At the upper end of the building, however, the top floor dissolves into openness and freedom with a roof terrace. This part of the dwelling house, with its structures interrupted by gaps, actually appears as if it was slowly being dematerialized. The destructive aspect of this dissolution is opposed by a living being in the form of a lemon tree that effectively stands out from its concrete environment. The already mentioned gaps moreover offer a nice view of the city.

Rear Views

The rear façade offers one thing in the first place: view. For it primarily consists of glazed openings with balconies in front of them spanning the entire width of the building. Whereas the lower floors essentially offer a view of the small garden with its prominently staged Linden tree, the perspective widens with increasing altitude, bringing the hills of Lisbon and the Tagus into view.

Purist Interior

The modernity of the building can most unmistakably be witnessed in the materiality of its interior. Cool and minimalist, the interior of the dwelling house consists almost entirely of exposed concrete, with the walls and ceilings left board-marked. The steady board marks create a current-like visual dynamic within the rooms. Within these floods of concrete, some wall claddings and doors of birch wood almost appear like solid islands.

Good Sides, industrial Sides

The House in Lisbon by ARX Portugal is certainly a building that polarizes. Despite its distinctively contemporary otherness, the front façade still fits well into the cityscape and also offers, with its lower reserve and upper dissolution, an interesting dichotomy. The rear undoubtedly convinces with its views of the small pretty garden, enclosed by historical walls, and the landscape beyond. Even the interior, with its seemingly infinite concrete, has a sort of exciting dynamic and an enormous impact. But for me personally, it would be too turbulent, too industrial and, of course, – as a self-admitted despiser of this colour – too grey to actually live inside these exposed concrete walls.


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