Winner of the Tile of Spain Architecture Award, a vertically designed, five-storey house was restored with an updated ceramic tile facade.
Commended by the jury for the brilliant interpretation of the use of ceramic tiles in the historical quarter of Lisbon, Portugal, the House in Príncipe Real project topped the Ceramic Tile in Architecture category of the 13th Tile of Spain Awards.
In keeping with the ceramic tile theme that is intrinsic to the city of Lisbon, the small five-storey urban house, which faces onto the street, was restored with an updated ocean-green tile facade. Before, the building’s original cladding was in an advanced state of decay.
Camarim Architects transformed the former tiles’ motif into an abstract pattern that is embodied in different textures on the new tile surface. At the base, the cladding features a flat tile, with a perforated steel, light-permeable entablature at the top of the building and bas-relief tiles in-between. Through the perforated top portion, the sunlight creates a filigree effect inside the house, depending on the time of day and season, while outside, the tiles produce distinctive reflections on the street.
Built on a tiny 41m² plot, the building was designed so that each floor of this vertical house has a different function and layout. All the floors connect through a vertical atrium of variable geometry, providing a naturally-lit cadenced, progressive route. In addition to its spatial qualities, the atrium works as a thermal chimney for passive cooling during spring and summer and allows natural airflow throughout the year.
Instead of using traditional reinforced concrete and brick, the architects opted for a light-steel frame (LSF) system, which made it easier to build in a small, confined space and afforded a larger interior space. Some of the walls in fact have structural elements of only 9cm thick. It is the first building in Lisbon constructed with an LSF system.
Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Tile of Spain, the Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) and Camarim Architects for the information supplied to write this article.
Architects: Camarim Architects
Built area: 205m²
Site area: 41m²
– Five storeys connected by a vertical atrium.
– Light-steel frame system.
– Ceramic tile facade in three mediums: A flat tile base, bas-relief body and perforated top.