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Forte Apartment by mero oficina, Vila do Conde, Portugal

José Campos

Porto-based architecture studio mero oficina has recently refurbished this 120 smq apartment within a 90’s residential building in Vila do Conde, Portugal. The apartment is a result of the rampant construction that characterizes the neighborhood growing where it’s located. Maybe for this reason, it was organized in a very uncommon way: the house’s most intimate area was facing to the only public space that fronts the seaside landscape and the noise of the street; while the house’s collective zone, the living room and the kitchen, enjoy the calm of the backyard.

This feature made the apartment’s living experience quite dark and little related with its urban context, therefore, making fundamental to reverse this random character and rotate the apartment’s internal organization.


Architects have turned the pre-existent infrastructural core relocating the bathrooms and the laundry, and turning the living and kitchen space towards the beach and the bedrooms to the block’s quite garden.

The house’s internal organization is now appointed by this service central core and by a plywood surfaces line, which extends itself throughout the apartment and allows to multiply the number of bedrooms.


By opening and closing the folding doors the inhabitants can redefine the apartment spaces, ensuring some flexibility on the occupation and the number of guests.

“As it is a holiday home, for summer and weekends, it was our intention to give an important role to the trivial domestic tasks, which in these periods acquire a different time on quotidian life,” explain architects.


This way, the opened laundry to the entrance, by the presence of the marble vat, and the central counter of the kitchen, realms this functional dimension and enhanced the importance of the new organization on the house’s new ways of using.


The blue tiles, which wrap the central core, helps to highlight the ludic and summer character that was intended to be given to the apartment, while the construction options for light materials, like the birch cupboards and the marble cement floor, make the house more illuminated.

Through this materiality and the new exposure, the architects tried to bring more light to the apartment and to link, on a very clear way, the interior space of the house with the beach.

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all images © José Campos | Architectural Photographer