Home With An Amazing Facelift

Luke Riley Luke Riley
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Possibly the most ambitious project we've seen on homify is the restoration of this historical residence in Lisbon. Magnificently restored, the building tells a fascinating tale of Portuguese culture and architecture throughout many centuries.

Originally built in the twelfth century, in the following years the buildings had been expanded, restored and completely overhauled in many different architectural styles. The most significant occurred in 1755 when much of the building was damaged by an earthquake that shook the city. However, until only recently the building stood in a state of degradation after decades of neglect.  

The new owners of the building knew that only the most experienced experts could be trusted with a project of such significance. They called upon award winning firm André Espinho Arquitectura, whose multi-talented team consisted of architects, engineers, technicians, planners and builders. Together they have made this project more than just a reality but a resounding success and was even awarded this year's 2015 National Prize for Urban Rehabilitation. So, with no further introduction necessary, let's begin our tour of this truly unique project! 

Photography provided by Giorgio Bordino, André Espinho and John Gouveia.

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This image captures the extent of the degradation of the building's façade before the restoration began. Lisbon has been the target of numerous rehabilitation projects, with many desiring to bring buildings such as the one pictured back to their former glory. Many try but few are able to find the balance between restoring heritage and adding the style and comforts expected in modern homes. 

It should be noted that the building is located in the area of the Parish of Santa Maria Maggiore, in the heart of the city close to the castle São Jorge, making this a highly desirable location.

Post facelift

After much work a new look façade has restored the life and dignity to the building. The former exterior has been given a clean, simple outlook that enhances the historical features and charming intricacies of the building. 

Exciting entrance

Entrance to the building is made by walking through a narrow corridor that leads to a stone staircase. Different design aspects have been kept where suitable to create a setting that's brimming with interest and history. Modern touches are in place purely to enhance the appeal of the old. Look no further than the ceiling lighting that highlights the rustic look of the red brickwork. It’s a unique blend of old meets new.

Old space, new function

The internal layout of the building covers a total area of 1158.40m2. Being such a grand building it was decided to divide the building into 22 spacious apartments. Apartments would be configured in many different sections of the building, with each having its own distinct character and features, resulting in no apartment looking the same. However, all the apartments were configured and renovated with the same modern design ethos. 

An all-white colour scheme was critical to the realisation of the contemporary design objective. Here, we can see the crispness of the scheme enhance the setting within a studio apartment. 

All-white scheme

We've moved into another apartment but this time within one of the larger living options. Located on the third level within the attic is a shared kitchen and dining space that's bright and open. Without a doubt there's a minimalist inspiration for the décor here which really helps to highlight the form and function of the building. 

Another aspect that enriches this project are the artistic influences that can be found in many of the apartments. During part of the previous century the building had been a gathering point where local artists would paint, sculpt and express themselves. There are elements of these artist expressions that remain in some of the apartments. 

Natural feature wall

A wall within the courtyard has many rows of small potted plants mounted on it. Over time the plants will grow and creep enough to cover the entire wall, giving the courtyard some much needed greenery and nature. This is a simple but ultimately very smart solution to bring more life to small or awkward outdoor spaces. 

Parting shot

What's even more amazing about this project is the fact the building has been given the highest stamp of Energy Certification. All throughout the building there are many environmental design factors—big and small—that have helped the architect achieve this fantastic achievement. Overall, it has been a hugely successful project that has helped Lisbon retain and enhance one of its most significant buildings, with the bonus environmental friendliness that will serve the new owners well into the future.  

For another fabulous restoration project check out: A Terrace Fit for the Queen.

What was your favourite aspect of this restoration? Tell us in the comment, below.
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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