This article is part of our new series "Material in Focus", where we ask architects to share with us their creative process through the choice of materials that define important parts of the construction of their buildings.
Casa Restelo was designed by Portuguese studio João Tiago Aguiar - architects. The 225 square meter project consists of the expansion of a 50's residence in the Restelo neighborhood, an area of semi-detached houses. For this project they also completely renovated the exterior facades, keeping the current look in mind while creating a new interpretation of the patterns inspired by traditional Portuguese tiles. We talked with the architect João Tiago Aguiar to know more about the material choices and the challenges of this project.
What were the main materials used for this project?
JTA: We used phenolic panels on the posterior façade, wood for the floors, stone, and glass.
What were your biggest sources of inspiration and influences when choosing the materials used in this project?
JTA: Traditional Portuguese architecture with the use of cement tiles and colored tiles with patterns.
Describe how the material decisions influenced the design of the project.
JTA: To start with we wanted to make something more traditional. Then we took the concept to using modern materials and traditional methods but reinvented it and adapted it for the present day.
What were the advantages that this material offered for the construction of the project?
JTA: It created a unique and different look and also helped solve the issues of shade and security.
Did the choice of materials create any challenges for the project in any way?
JTA: Yes, a little, since we needed to think of a light, durable, resistant solution that at the same time wasn’t too expensive.
Did you ever consider other possible materials for the project? How would that have changed the project?
JTA: Yes, metal plates or laser-cut lacquered aluminum, for example, or even GRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete). After some discussion and comparing costs, thicknesses, decisions on sliding brackets, etc., we ended up going with the phenolic panels. They seemed like the perfect solution for the desired effect. As I mentioned, if we had opted for one of the other materials, the slenderness and lightness on the whole, would certainly not be the same. It would have another thickness, another weight, and probably would have ended up being more expensive as well. However, I think that in spite of everything the effect would be quite similar and the concept that served as the basis for the whole project wouldn’t have changed much.
How did you research the suppliers and builders appropriate to the materials used in the project?
JTA: To be honest, I didn’t do much research. Fortunately, one of the contractors who was bidding for the project and who ultimately got it had an excellent sub-contractor for metal work and we developed the details with them and they helped make the concept something real and tangible.
Check out the full project below: