Located a few metres from the ‘Garden of Príncipe Real’ in Lisbon, Portugal, this 41 m² plot has allowed local firm Camarim Arquitectos to construct a small five-storey urban house for a family. The exiguity of the plot has led the architects to a scheme where each floor has a different function and layout and all floors connect through a vertical atrium of variable geometry, providing a naturally-lit cadenced, progressive route. In addition to its spatial qualities, the atrium works as a thermal chimney for passive cooling during spring and summer and allows air renewal throughout the year.


The building’s skin is a contemporary approach to the tiles covering the former building, which was in advanced state of decay. The architects defined a set of abstract rules to transform the original tile’s motif in an abstract pattern, embodied in 3 distinct media: a flat-tile base, a bas-relief-tile body and a perforated-steel, light-permeable, entablature.


“Hard as it would be to plan a typical construction site in such a small plot, we opted for a light steel construction system – LSF – which has an excellent thermal and acoustic performance. It is the first building in Lisbon made with this system.” Camarim said.

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all images © NELSON GARRIDO