AN ATTENTIVE AND WELL-BALANCED RENOVATION WORK THAT GOES BACK IN TIME, RETURNING THIS UNIQUE, BRAGA-BASED, PORTUGUESE CHALET, TO ITS ORIGINAL SPLENDOR

 

This original chalet-shape is based on the innovative combination of the typical Portuguese houses from the XIX Century, combined with the Alpine style, taken from a wave of rich Portuguese coming back from Brazil in the Nineteenth Century. Three Cusps Chalet – this is the name of the project – is sited in the heart of the Roman and Middle Age walls, in a greatly sunbathed area, with two fronts, one street-west facing, the other on a delightful internal square east facing always lit by natural light.

The building’s stylistic identity has been totally lost over these 120 years, during which not really enhancing rather quite altering renovation works of the façade and of the building as a whole, were done. Architect Tiago Do Vale’s aim was to reestablish the building’s past features, defining the space layout and the internal functions. The architect explains that the main thing was the architecture conformed with todays’ needs, becoming a standard to follow in future renovation works within the neighborhood. The dream-like façade has been restored and returned to the splendor of the past, refurbishing the frames of the wooden windows and preserving the nicely decorated eaves. Also the interiors were restored in order to recover the original space distribution with the central staircase (which was reduced for space optimization), wooden floors and exposed beams, introducing the Portuguese Estremoz marble in the ground floor and in the kitchen area.

The owners asked the architects to develop a plan including an apartment and a studio. Considering the 1.5 meter different in height between the street and the internal square, the home office was arranged at the ground floor, west, linked to the street, thus ensuring the afternoon light to enter the space. Conversely, the home is bathed by the morning light and faces the internal square scattered with orange trees that provide cool shade in summer, and are full of fruit in winter. The stair with white-structure rises and steps, serves as light source as well as filter between the work and living area. At the first floor, it marks the perimeter of the kitchen and the living room. Climbing up the stairs you arrive at the second floor, where is arranged the lofted sleeping area with white-painted exposed beams. On the other side of the staircase, the designers accommodated a marble bathroom and a built-in the wall walk-in closet similar to a wooden box. Three Cusps Chalet was awarded with the American Architecture Prize.

Photos: João Morgado