House in Rio Mau is a renovation project which transforms an a stable into a single family house, in Portugal’s Douro Litoral region. This building, once used to shelter animals belonging to the farm house, is built in granite and its interior space is a trapezoid 4,3m wide and 32m long. A lintel stone marks the number “1833”, a plausible date for the initial construction. Following a decrease of plant and animal farming, the building got devoid of its initial purpose and around 150 years after its foundation it went through its first renovation in the 90’s in order to transform it into a house. The project was eventually abandoned, leaving an unfinished self construction consisting of new windows in the facade, a base slab, a rough partition of brick walls in the interior and a new roofing. An additional 25 years would pass until the building got to be renovated to its full extent. This is a complex background that fueled and constrained the development of the project, which draws inspiration from the farming architecture found in the area.
Project master guidelines
When visiting the site for the first time, we were impressed by the imposing wood trusses that support the long gable roof. Another striking feature was the narrow and dark bedroom corridor. These two readings of the project were joined to create a long, airy and bright space. The baroque approach of lending exterior features to an interior space was followed: the rooms were given the illusion of having a roof of their own becoming an independent building under the exterior light provided by two hidden skylights. This simulated building white block peeks in the living room though a slatted wood wall, heavily related to the traditional red “espigueiro” (raccard) found beside the threshing floor of the farm house. The last room was modelled to be a suite and, similarly to the living room, features a higher ceiling and the protrusion of the white block through a red slatted wood wall.
▼系统性的红色木板条装饰，systematic red slatted wood wall
▼外凸白色盒体模仿谷仓形态，the white block peeks in the living room though a slatted wood wall is heavily related to the traditional red “espigueiro” (raccard) found beside the threshing floor of the farm house
The bathroom takes cues from its geometry, generating an equilateral triangular shower, modelled with vertical slates of stone. The kitchen, spatially detached from the rest of the house by a previously existing granite wall, was furnished with a technical area – laundry, fridge and pantry – beside another abstract slatted wall. The working bench was modelled as to relate to a rural workbench: this was achieved by creating a thick countertop and austere cabinets.
▼厨房空间位于原建筑中一处分离的房间里，the kitchen, spatially detached from the rest of the house by a previously existing granite wall
▼狭长的外部走廊，the narrow and long corridor
▼浴室充分利用空间几何形态，the bathroom takes cues from its geometry
Finishings and materials
The pre existence nature of this project created its share of constraints. The previous stable was built on rocky ground, which explains the raised level of the kitchen. This fact also accounts for the bedrock which posed serious humidity challenges to the wood flooring maintenance; this was solved by applying large OSB panels as flooring, with high water resistance. The external door and window voids dimensions were all different which naturally catered to a custom windowing solution. A wooden system was created together with the carpenter which relates to traditional designs while providing proper insulation and built-in shutters. The living room north side is marked by the apparent interior white building facade whose pseudo door is a fireplace which provides heating to all the rooms.
▼定向结构刨花板很好的实现防水性能，applying large OSB panels as flooring to deal with humidity challenges
▼采用定制化外部门窗，custom windowing solution
▼厨房剖面，section of kitchen
▼客厅剖面，section of living room
Date of project: August 2014
Date of construction: August 2017
Location: Rio Mau, Vila do Conde, Portugal
Architect: Pedro de Azambuja Varela
Team: Fábio Veríssimo