A Luminous Renovation in Portugal Creates a Bright and Airy Apartment

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
An Álvaro Siza-designed apartment in Lisbon undergoes a renovation that results in a more spacious, light-filled interior.

Lisbon-based architectural practice rar.studio was commissioned to take on the renovation of Apartment AMC, which is located in the Chiado district in one of Terraços de Bragança's blocks, a residential complex completed by Álvaro Siza in 2004. The initial challenge they faced was a somewhat unconventional one. "Working within the scope of a Siza project represents a desirable challenge. The inexorable weight of the inherent responsibility runs in parallel to a sense of pointlessness of intervening within a framework that requires no such work. We thus focused on the needs, desires, and expectations of the client," the design team explains.

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Honing in on the needs of their client, they removed the cabinets and ventilation infrastructures throughout the bathrooms, bedrooms, the hallway, living room, and storage room. They relocated them behind the suspended ceiling, thus freeing up more usable interior space. 

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An open metal bookshelf replaced a built-in one, separating the living room from the corridor and allowing natural light to illuminate the hallway. 

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By repositioning the door (which accessed the living room) and removing the wall that had previously enclosed the dining room area, they were able to open and connect the public spaces. 

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The dark wooden floor was replaced by lighter, broader planks, and inner doors were rescaled, retaining their breadth and raising their height to match that of the windows. Thinner door frames and taller skirting boards with integrated ventilation grids were installed.

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The bathrooms, as well as the kitchen and pantry, received new layouts and fixtures. Baths, sinks, and shower trays were outfitted in dark stone—a striking contrast to the white walls and tiled floors.

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Original floor plan


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Renovation floor plan

Project Credits

-Size: 1,830 square feet

-Architect of record: rar.studio

-Builder/general contractor: Recuperação e Valorização de Imóveis, Lda.

-Engineering: CPX – Consultoria e Projectos

-Interior, lighting, and cabinetry design: rar.studio

-Photography: Fernando Guerra | FG+SG  

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