Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Lofts in Lisbon, Portugal by Manuel Graça Dias + Egas José Vieira
May 5th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Manuel Graça Dias + Egas José Vieira
Two lofts were adapted from an old typography space, located on the ground floor of a residential building of the early twentieth century, in Lisbon. The building plan, almost a “square” shape (350,00 square meter), distributes its liveable space in a “U” shape, around the entrance lobby, the staircase and a small interior court yard.
The construction, more or less traditional for the time it was built, is anchored on the ground floor, in the middle of the wings that embrace the area of the stairway, by metal beams and pillars that give the space industrial characteristics beyond a remarkable strength. The space reaches about 4.00 m high between the beams. This dimension, although its generosity, proved insufficient, however, for the introduction of mezzanines.
A very small yard, running parallel to the rear façade, separates the building from the neighbours. The intervention begun by an excavation of 1.50 m (in the alignment of the last wall of the interior courtyard), to enable the installation of two levels (2.50 m height each), facing the back yard also obtained by the excavation of the old patio.
The entrances in the two new apartments are made from the building lobby, having been transformed the large doors directly related with the street, into normal windows, similar to those already existing. A long living room, lit by the large windows of the main elevation and the tears practiced on the courtyard wall in the background, dominates the whole initial space of the two apartments.
A battery of secondary spaces (lobby, cloakroom, storage room, library with fireplace and toilet) solved with panels of painted plywood, follows the longitudinal development of the room along the walls that make up the stairwell. In the background, illuminated (and illuminating the living room) from the rear elevation, there are two higher volumes in glass: one is the kitchen and the other, opposite, should be an ambiguous compartment (Office? Dining room? Guest room?).
These volumes are articulated with each other through a delicate metallic bridge that enriches the possibilities of the movement. The access to those compartments is made by a symmetrical pair of stairs at the end of the living room. Halfway through, another stair (larger because it encompasses a pre-existing column) calls us below, to the semi-basement, where the two bedrooms of each apartment were positioned. In the small court yards, two adult lemon trees will be planted, enthralling, with their leaves, the windows on this side of the two apartments.
MANUEL GRAÇA DIAS + EGAS JOSÉ VIEIRA
Manuel Graça Dias (Lisbon, 1953) is an architect (Lisbon School of Fine Arts, 1977) and was assistant professor at FA/UTL (between 1985 and 1996) being, at the moment, professor at FAUP (Faculty of Architecture/University of Porto, since 1997), where he completes his PhD (2009) and invited professor at DA/UAL (Department of Architecture of the Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, since 1998).
Manuel Graça Dias has written a lot of articles on architectural issues in the Portuguese press and he is often invited for lectures in Portugal and abroad; he was the author of television documentaries on architecture (RTP2, 1992-1996), as well as radio programs about architecture (TSF, 1995-1999). MGD is the Director of the JA (Jornal Arquitectos, official magazine of the Order of Portuguese Architects) for 2009-2011 (direction he also assumed between 2000 and 2004), and the President of the Portuguese section of AICA – Association International des Critiques d’Art (since 2009). He is also the author of six books on architectural themes.
Egas José Vieira (Lisbon, 1962) is an architect (Faculty of Architecture/Technical University of Lisbon, 1985) and was invited professor at the ESTGAD (Caldas da Rainha Superior School of Art and Design) being, at the moment, invited professor at DA/UAL (Department of Architecture of the Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, since 1998).
Manuel Graça Dias and Egas José Vieira live and work in Lisbon, where they created their office, CONTEMPORÂNEA. They awarded the 1st place in the competition for the Portuguese Pavilion in Expo´92, Seville, as well as in the competition for the new branch of A.A.P. (Portuguese Architects Association/Banhos de S. Paulo, now the Order of Portuguese Architects), Lisbon (1991).
MGD+EJV have completed several projects in Lisbon, Oporto, Chaves, Vila Real, Almada, Guimarães, Macau, Madrid and Seville, which had been published in the specialized media and take part of numerous exhibitions, individual or collectives (since 1978).
Authors of the polemic Study of Urban Reconversion of Lisnave Dockyard, in Almada, MGD+EJV, are occupied at the moment, among others, with the projects for an enormous dwelling set (427 apartments) in Guimarães, the Plan for the Village of Estrela, near the Alqueva Dam in Alentejo, the Olive Oil Museum of Mirandela, a big dwelling building in Saldanha, Lisbon, and with the project for the new Municipal Theatre of Plzen (Check Republic), a public competition they won in 2009.
The Blue Theatre they built in Almada (whith Gonçalo Afonso Dias, 1998-2005), was Jury nominee for several awards: Secil – 2007, Mies van der Rohe – 2007 and Aga Khan – 2008/2010.
Manuel Graça Dias and Egas José Vieira won the AICA/Ministry of Culture Award (Architecture), related to 1999, for their built work.
Contact Manuel Graça Dias + Egas José Vieira