Project: Marvila Apartment
Architects: KEMA studio
Lead Architects: Eliza Borkowska, Magdalena Czapluk
Engineering: PROJECTINSPE – Certificação e Projectos, Unipessoal, Lda
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Area: 60 m2
Photographs: Alexander Bogorodskiy, Eliza Borkowska (KEMA studio)
The project is located in Marvila, one of the oldest industrial and working-class areas in Lisbon, a district that, while not being fully integrated into the city, ended up belonging to it integrally, undergoing a process of urban regeneration, awaited for decades.
The project aimed to transform an attic apartment without any living conditions into a bright and open space with a breathtaking view of the Tagus River, creating an idea of a “lighthouse”, a shelter at the top of the building, which opens for the distant views of the surrounding built environment, framed by the sky and the sea, disconnected from the disturbance of the city life.
Due to the dysfunctionality of the previous configuration of the apartment and the very poor condition of its structure, it became necessary to replace the entire roof and remake all of its interiors. Through a deep intervention into the space of the apartment and the geometry of the stairs, it became possible to introduce a functional bathroom and a more comfortable entrance.
The main objective of this project was to create a space as open and bright as possible. To achieve this goal, we decided to contain the private areas – bedroom, and bathroom – in a separate volume, disconnected from the roof, leaving the remaining open space as a living room. Both storage and kitchenette were contained in another volume created along the living room, an element integrated into the gable wall.
This way we were able to free up as much space as possible and introduce additional thermal insulation to the space. By subtracting from this volume, we created two niches: one that serves as the kitchenette countertop area and the other that serves as a sofa from which one is able to admire all the beauty of the carefully studied geometry of the interior.
We illuminated the space by introducing 4 new skylights and two dormer windows, offering a lot of transparency to the space. Where it was not possible to introduce direct light, we proposed small glazed strips bringing the indirect light, creating a special atmosphere inside those interiors. Additionally, large, mysteriously placed mirrors multiply the perception of spaciousness and luminosity inside the apartment.
We contributed to the feeling of spaciousness of the apartment also by creating a very minimalist and bright ambiance, with natural tones. On top of this very homogeneous base, we decided to introduce decorative elements in metal and brick that are a tribute to the industrial spirit of Marvila that can be observed throughout the neighborhood.
A fundamental point of any of our projects is the careful and responsible choice of materials. In this project, we use sustainable and eco-friendly materials such as fiber cement, colored wood fiber, plywood, metal, brick tiles, and wood.
As a result of this intervention, we were able to create a functional, bright, and open space, a space that lets you breathe and, despite its modern character, revives the spirit of the area in which it was created.