brandao costa arquitectos . Photos © francisco ascensão
The plot for the construction of this house is a tiny topographic remnant of a vast territory sloping down to the River Mondego valley, once known as “Quinta das Lágrimas”.
It used to have a breathtaking view over the river bed and the historic uptown Coimbra, but today the place has been decimated by disastrous parcelling which has dramatically altered the original nature of the site.
The aim of the intervention is to lighten the volumetric density of the site, building only a low, suspended body, minimising the mass and maintaining the original reading of the terrain, which corresponds to the lost morphological nature.
This strategy enables the great transparency of the plot to be kept, compensating for the excessive density achieved, and allowing the perception of the original nature of the land and its downward movement to be retained.
It can thus be said that the house is conceived as a pavilion suspended over the memory of the landscape, which rises above the building constructed in front of it, in order to obtain the formerly broad, unimpeded view.
The domestic space corresponds to the geometry of the pavilion, where the functional organisation is limited to the movement of the wooden panels that open and close the spaces.
An enclosed staircase in the geometric centre of the composition gives access to the habitable part of the house, from ground level to the roof, which is part of its living space, to enjoy the landscape and view over Uptown Coimbra.
At the lower level, concealed in the volume of the land, is a storage and laundry area that complements the operation of the residence.
The entire design is obviously an allegory for Le Corbusier’s Ville Savoie, with the piloti grid and the ribbon window like a tracking shot over the land.
project: house in coimbra
location: coimbra, portugal
date: 2016 – 2021
building area: 293,9 m2
architecture: nuno brandão costa
collaborators: rita leite, simon ruey
foundations and structures: ana isabel vale (abprojectos)
hydraulics: miguel vale (abprojectos)
maria da luz santiago (rs associados)
raul bessa (get)