In an architectural project, regardless of the size of the work, restoring and rehabilitating a building is more complicated than rebuilding, not only because sometimes there are buildings with historical value that have to be preserved, but also by the state of construction, as few times the conditions are known before we start the project. Still, the plan of action in rebuilding a building is a challenge for any architect because it involves adopting very different strategies from those that would develop in a land without buildings.
The reasons for refurbishing a building instead of building a new one are varied. Most of the time it is due to the existence of a law that prevents its demolition, regardless of whether or not it has architectural value.
Cities often have numerous situations, mostly empty spaces between buildings or corners, which can give rise to small residential buildings. These spaces are sometimes occupied by garages, small abandoned buildings, vandalized and simply left to abandon.
The sensibility of the architect who carries out the rehabilitation of these abandoned places is primordial, since it depends on knowing how to create a Micro Architecture that can “survive” in a city already densely built. Thus, in the end the result is their ability to define bold and simultaneously budget-adjusted strategies.
The Loft in Falagueira comprises the reconstruction with expansion and change of use for housing, of an abandoned garage located in Falagueira – Venda Nova, Amadora municipality, a spare space between two buildings. The garage built in 1951, which is in a high state of degradation, is in a small space between the two buildings. It is a small single-storey building, annexed to a three-storey building with north and south facing facades. It has a rectangular plan shape resulting in a small patio facing north. The land is practically flat with an area 52.89 m2 which results in a deployment of 36.60 m2 with an uncovered area of 16.29 m2.
Since all the necessary networks and infrastructures are in place, namely the electricity grid, domestic and rainwater and sewage network, natural gas network and telecommunications network, rehabilitation with change of use is possible and feasible.
The rehabilitation solution foresees the change of use of garage for housing and the construction of a single-family housing T0, with space for private parking of a car in the public space. The deployment area is reduced to 34.10 m2 to allow the necessary parking space in an uncovered area of 18.79 m2 within the plot.
Due to the need to adapt the building to the new housing use, only the south facade wall will be preserved, but the entire interior will be new, with new partitions and a first floor slab will be built, a mezzanine, a new facade in the north, and a new roof accessible through an interior staircase, respecting the building’s core (the modal value).
The entrance to the housing in the north gable is located on the leftmost overhang, and allows access to the patio with parking for the car.
The projected typology, T0, is distributed with the social and service area located on the ground floor and upstairs, on the mezzanine, the sleeping space.
The social area consists of a common room with a dining area and a living room. Access to the first floor of the mezzanine is from the living room.
The service area consists of the kitchen which has a laundry area, natural light through a large glass surface and direct access to the patio.
In the corridor that connects the service zone to the social zone, there is access to the sanitary facility, accessible to people with reduced mobility.
The kitchen equipment will consist of a self-supporting modular structure so that the floor can be easily cleaned and, if necessary, move the kitchen to clean the entire space.
Nuno Ladeiro / Carmo Branco