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Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2007

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Casa do Cristo

Framed by a small plot within the expanse of its agricultural surround, the Casa do Cristo allows its context to dictate its organization and resultant form.

By: Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa

Architecture-Page | Casa do Cristo by Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa
Exterior view of the Casa do Cristo.

Project Details

  • Project Name: Casa do Cristo
  • Client: Cristovão Campos
  • Project Type: Residential
  • Principal Designers: Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa
  • Design Team: Atsushi Ueno, Jorge Vieira, Rui Cardoso
  • Year of commencement of project: 2001
  • Year of completion of project: 2006
  • Location of site: Trofa, Portugal
  • Contractors: Salvador, CarpiCruz - Carpintaria, 3M Carpintaria, J. M. Almeida & Sousa LDA, Amandino Ferreira & Filho
  • Site Area: 477.18m2
  • Built-up Area: 1374.9m2

Architecture-Page | Casa do Cristo by Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa
View of the entry to the house.

The Building

The architects were asked to conceive an economic house for a young couple which provided for a living area, kitchen, two bedrooms and a studio, served by a common bathroom and the master bedroom, for the couple. The garage and storage space were to be located in the basement.

Architecture-Page | Casa do Cristo by Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa
View of the exterior of the single family residence.

The site is distinguished by its agricultural surround, narrow and winding roads, small spots of construction, as well as the presence of great masses of trees. The northern and the western faces of the site are involved by these agricultural fields. The site is further flanked by two public ways to its eastern and southern ends.

Architecture-Page | Casa do Cristo by Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa
View of the Casa do Cristo amidst its surrounds.

Further the architects recognized the need to release land for expansion of the house to the exterior, submitting the house to a minimum of occupation of the plot and to the mandatory distance of 7 meters to the axis of the road. The shape of the small plot thus largely conditioned the profile and formal composition of the designed building.

Architecture-Page | Casa do Cristo by Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa
Perspective view of the staircase that cuts the residence into two.

The house is backed against the extreme northern end of the plot, closing it against the precarious urbanity of its surroundings. The maximum height allowed by the municipal plan i.e. 4 meters was explored.

Architecture-Page | Casa do Cristo by Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa
Interior view of the bathroom.

The design grows in its volume in sync with the natural topography, "warping" inwards while opening towards the Sun and the landscape. The volume is the immediate expression of the internal organization of the house, establishing a promenade from the lowest level -- the street -- onto the highest part of the house -- the studio.

Architecture-Page | Casa do Cristo by Jose Carlos Nunes de Oliveira and Paulo Costa
Interior view of the studio capturing its surroundings in a single frame.

In the centre of the ground floor a staircase, illuminated by a wide skylight, leads to the upper floor while cutting the house in two. It thus clearly separates the master bedroom from the other rooms.

Credits

  • Text: Courtesy of the architect
  • Photographs by Armenio Teixeira, Courtesy of the architect
  • Compiled and edited by Varun Ajani

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