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João’s House

Guilherme Machado Vaz, Dinis & Gustavo

Feeling creative at home: the renaissance of Porto.

This is part of a series of videos featuring winners and finalists from the 2018 Simon Architecture Prize.

One could not even try to convey all the transformations that the city of Porto, Portugal had undertaken since the beginning of the new century. After the closing of the commercial harbor, the city lost hundreds of thousand inhabitants, bringing the city and its urban center to the brink of collapse.

But since 2001 much as changed.

That year the city was nominated European capital of culture, then, step by step - thanks to the low-cost connections with the rest of the continent and a municipality able to be both visionary and pragmatic, the city has turned gloom into… boom.
Now it's considered the most creative city of the nation and hosts, among others, Casa de Música and the Serralves Foundation, the most important museum of contemporary art in Portugal.

What is the aim of such a long introduction? As to cast the right light on the renovation of João's House by Guilherme Machado Vaz, finalist at the recent Simon Architecture Prize, now filmed by Dinis&Gustavo.

The small house is located in the old part of the city of Porto, close to the Douro River. It is a traditional XIX century ground floor building with walls made with stone, and a wooden roof structure covered with tiles. 

As many of the refurbished houses in Porto, this was once used as a bakery: Machado Vaz decided to transform the former laboratory into a two-floor house distributing the social spaces on the ground floor and the private spaces on the upper floor. There is a mid-level between the two floors to open a small pátio that brings light to the client's musical studio.

The tripartite video gives us a comprehensive understanding of the house, focusing on the overall appearance and investigating the details, being them both the material and the architectural solutions. 
Therefore we see the day and the life unfold in the house: what strikes the most is the illumination, the natural light flooding the rooms. 
Even though is quite difficult to grasp the actual structure of the space, the video captures the vibe and the ambiance of the house.

One of the most innovative choices can be found in the ground floor in the bookshelf/cupboard furniture, that divides the space into two halves, filtering light in a subtle way, but letting every movement be as fluid as it should be.

The video ends on the veranda, with the owner playing guitar in the warm air of the late afternoon. As the architect declared this is "a place about identity, culture and the history of Porto".

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)


Architect: Guilherme Machado Vaz
Mentioned project: João’s House (2012-2016)
Project location: Porto, Portugal

Portugal 2017
Duration: 2'30"