This Estoril house was built in 1923 and is owned by the Portuguese architect Ricardo Morena, who faced one of the most difficult tasks for an architect, namely to redesign his own house. Taking into account the constraints of the existing building, the architect intended to increase the feeling of freedom, to connect more the interior with the exterior. At the same time, he wanted a harmonious relationship between the historic and contemporary architectural values as a bridge between two moments in time. From the exterior, the house doesn’t look much changed; the exterior walls were preserved and restored with traditional materials.
In the interior there have been major changes, a volume of wood being in the center of attention. This includes the common areas: living room, kitchen and an office. In the same volume of wood there are carved stairs that lead you to the private area above. On the same system, the upstairs spaces are organized also in volumes, but this time, they are white. The harmony between white and wood is complemented by the old brick walls. After the renovations, the Estoril house won a poetic impression that communicates very well with the historical value of the house.
This work was a challenge and intent to understand the techniques and materials of the time, mandatory in this kind of construction. The outer walls, built of handmade brick and stone masonry, were covered with lime-sand mortar, mixed with shredded cork in order to improve the thermal factor, to adjust the interior humidity to levels of human comfort, allowing the walls to ‘breath’ and being permeable to water steam. Thus, there was a concern to use natural ecological materials, totally recyclable and of low energy consumption in the production process. In short, this is not only a sensible and conscious operation regarding the characteristics and conservation of the existing house, but also the introduction of a program that underlines and enhances the poetic and historic side enabling a communication with this new intervention.