Apartment in Carcavelos / Hugo Proenca


Architects: Hugo Proença
Location: Carcavelos, Cascais,
Project year: 2009
Contractor: Bloco Zero
Constructed area: 65 sqm
Budget: 35.000€
Photographs: FG + SG, Sergio Guerra

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Within a small and inadequate 65 sqm flat, near the beach, in Carcavelos , the primary objective was the creation of a strategy that highlighted the division between spaces and added to the walls more than streaming elements. A single guiding line that solves in a single stroke the program as well as the constraints inherited by the building system – the interior structural vestment in concrete could not be demolished within the available budget.

floor plan
floor plan

The project was to organize a single residential home – living room, bedroom, dining room, kitchen and bathroom, without preconceived functional concepts. These are autonomous areas, where only the bathroom and bedroom have doors. The transition between spaces reveal some elements of surprise, and creates intentional interrelations. We can claim that these are gateways where the feeling of the whole is never lost.


The strategy was driven with the use of carpentry as the foundation of the intervention. The same material for the same function, to overcome the basic need – storage. The creation of two front-to-front cabinet units define and frame the living space. While one (white, closed and full height) define the entrance of the bedroom, the other (black, open and 2,10m tall) defines the passage into the dining area and breaks through to the kitchen, adding an ancillary module to it. The worktops and the kitchen units follow the same language – clean, straight and functional. The flooring is neutral, light grey, reflecting the sunlight that enters through the windows.


In the hallway, the mirror panel (fixed and pivoting) hides the bathroom and reveals to those entering or leaving their reflected image that welcomes or says goodbye.

Cite: "Apartment in Carcavelos / Hugo Proenca" 28 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=33013>
  • LV


  • http://www.twitter.com/tgphipps Terry Glenn Phipps

    Just look at what a lot of discipline can create on a limited budget. Kudos for this exceptional and honest project.

    Terry Glenn Phipps

    • sullka

      Its a beautiful project indeed, I do agree with you on the exceptional and honest part.

      However, I don’t think “budget” was an issue in this apartment, don’t confuse minimal with cheap.

      From the top of my mind, I see Hans Wegner chairs, a Tolomeo lamp and an Alto Stool. I fail to recognize the remaining furniture, but I’m pretty sure they’re not IKEA.

      And having worked interior design for clients with taste (money) like that, I can vouch that custom made carpentry like the one we see could pay a small apartment.

      • Fausto

        Please keep in mind that, at least in Portugal, photographic productions often use furniture lended by Design Shops as self promotion, rather than the owner’s.
        And also carpentry in less expensive than in most european countries, by other hand, apartments are not – so 35.000€ (the stated budget) wouldn’t buy you the smallest apartment.

  • Balkan

    I don’t know why I always get excited when I see white portuguese minimalism. Maybe because “less IS more”!!!!:) Congrats.

  • WJD

    Multiple choice:

    1. B.F. Skinner Box

    2. Terrarium

    3. Minimum security holding facility

  • Peter

    I like it!
    On the claustrophobic side, low ceiling
    I’m not a fan of the division between living/dining
    unless it was a thought as a potential future bedroom
    but is nice and btw the budget is not so small for what was done here

  • DL

    Less is not more and will never be!

    • http://www.dviejugrupe.lt linas

      never stop to be – it depends on your philosophy.

  • Jubair Siddeeque

    very neat. How is this kind of flooring Achieved? I always wondered. Theres a lot of simlarity with the works of Form-kimura.

  • Niko Holkstass

    Its great, but i dont like the invasion of smells from the kitchen to the living room….

  • Jason

    Beautiful project. However, I take issue with the representation of the drawings, the high contrast black/white, while I think I understand their reasons for it, is offensive to the eye… a bit too harsh for me to enjoy the drawings.

    I too am curious about the flooring material. Does anyone know what it is? Also, are those concrete counter tops in the kitchen, do you think?

    All in all an exceptional project.

  • roadkill

    Very nice indeed… clean, simple, well detailed and despite the expensive fittings probably quite cheap [given the building costs in Portugal being some of the lowest in europe]… well done and please tell us more about the flooring

  • frooger

    i liked it …
    i think the flooring is some kind of heavy coating ..
    ive seen such at Jotun paints ..
    it is called Jotafloor .. but its not that glossy … i dont know

  • Miguel

    The floor is epoxy concrete with white pigment…. if i´m not wrong. cheers

  • toktam

    it is lovely.small one but nice.

  • http://www.collierarchitects.com stove

    This is so well thought out & executed. Small spaces make the most challenging but ultimately most interesting projects & this is what contemporary housing practice needs to be exploring more. The result is confident, calm and beautiful.

  • Dantas

    The house is amazing. So simple.
    Delivers a solution to most problems in a small house, namely storage room and corridors.