Casa Hermínia.

Refurbishment of an apartment in Porto, PT.

April 2020,

First Building Permission 10.12.1969

6 Floors: Basement, Ground floor, 3 regular Floors with balconies and one step-back floor with a terrace.

The project located in the heart of the art district in the city centre of Porto. The refurbished apartment is situated on the 3rd Floor and oriented with both fronts to east-south and west-north opening with room-height windows for the sun to flood the space. The initial traditional room division was a point that we had to reorganize to create a modern way of living in a 80 m2 Apartment. The initial idea was to open the kitchen to the living room for a better communication and interaction. The Kitchen had to be enlarged and merged with the adjacent storage room. In that way the second bathroom had to give its space for the new storage of the house.

When it came to material composition, it was quite clear from the beginning, when we entered the building. We found these beautiful tiles from 1960s on the walls that paired so well with the light beige Terrazzo accentuated with black marble stone grains, walking up the steps to the upper floors. Terrazzo is called “Marmorite” in local builders’ language and has a long tradition in Portuguese households. But for some reason it got forgotten for some time.  Due to its state and aesthetic aspect after 50 years of use, we knew it would be the right material for the wet surfaces of the apartment. “Marmorite” is very close to the Italian Terrazzo in its way of crafting but slightly different in its ingredients.

The Floor surfaces of the living areas were preserved in the wooden parquet and recovered where needed. The floors of the “wet” rooms composed of the bathroom, kitchen and balcony were made from locally poured and polished “Marmorite” consisting of white Portland cement and the aggregates 16:1 ratio of local “Estremoz” marble with an accent of “Ruivina”.

When talking about the kitchen furniture design, we considered using the same material namely “Marmorite” on the Kitchen top than on the floor, in a different size of aggregate. The “Puxadores” were made by Senhor Ribeiro, a local craftsman who works in his austere atelier in Rio Tinto a suburb of Porto.

This apartment was imagined as a renewal, emphasizing the apartment’s quirks and lending voice to careful craftsmanship.

Function: Housing - Refurbishment
Area: 82m2
Design: Alban Wagener Architecture


Kitchen elevation

Kitchen axonometry

Interior visualization  - Living room - Kitchen

Selecting ingredients for the marmorite

Selected stone for threshold

Castform for the kitchen top.

Controlling the appliances

Manufacturing the door handles

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