Text description provided by the architects. The former abandoned existing building located in Ovar, although in an advanced state of disrepair, revealed a high consolidation perspective, that came from the maintenance of its simple existing structure, such as it was. Structurally the building was not in bad condition, having only the necessity of repair and replace some wooden elements of the roof structure.
The wide use of wood in this type of ancient construction goes from the partitions ceilings and walls, to the floors, interior and exterior openings, paneling, doors, roof, and remaining structure floor levels: ground-floor and floor. It was needed a careful work approach, that allowed the protection of those elements, including its recovery and some replacements.
The proposal combines the recover necessity of all the existing elements, introducing a three bedroom typology program, with the programmatic and typologic necessary adaptations. The house is mostly developed in its middle floor, maintaining the visual comfort characteristics, material and salubrity, gathering in this floor its main habitable compartments. On the lower level is the designated service space area, proposed location of spaces such has the laundry, the support small kitchen, storeroom and toilet, all fully concentrated along the north side of the building, freeing the remaining area for installation of workspace/office and multipurpose room.
As for the top floor, the changes are only at a construction level, with the revision of coverage, gutters and roofs, and introducing some new enhancements, like the 5 new skylights that improve natural lighting and ventilation, and also the thermal insulation and wood paneling coating of the attic, allowing a more homogeneous and recreational use of space.
The intermediate floor, already conditioned by the previously constructed matrix, suffered an additional function effort to place all its different areas - including rooms, living room and kitchen - in existing compartments, meaning that the new bathroom location moves to the old kitchen area. A new vertical circulation area appears uniting the 3 different floors, and in an area earlier occupied by the old access ladder and storage area.
All the intervention had a high need to safeguard and recovery all the possible existing elements, either on a structural level or at the maintenance of the functional formal and material matrix. A special care effort, building and applying all the infrastructure installation, was made, maintaining the original building characteristics, making it independent from all lighting, plumbing and HVAC facilities.
As for the new support created areas, the used material was the wooden structure with the lightweight, easy to assemble and essentially reversible, OSB panels or VIROC, not introducing any structural changes in the building. Regarding the other new support created areas, such as infrastructure, new cabinets, toilets, kitchen, vertical circulation, and others; they were all executed in lacquered or varnished wood, in a sort of contemporary and neutral language.
The new intervention does not conceal or hide itself, but having the sense for permanent coexistence, it seeks an adjustment to new silent spaces, revalidating them and looking for the lowest visual noise.