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Fluent Living: Casa do Monte by Leopold Banchini Architects and Daniel Zamarbide

Fluent Living: Casa do Monte by Leopold Banchini Architects and Daniel Zamarbide

Casa do Monte by Leopold Banchini Architects and Daniel Zamarbide Ph. Leopold Banchini Architects

Designed by Leopold Banchini Architects and Daniel Zamarbide in 2019, this house keeps the existing façade and reinvents the interior through a succession of levels that are intersected by a central core that holds together the program and leaves the rest of the house available for free use and multi-purpose spaces. 

Ph. Leopold Banchini Architects

Established in 1147 by Augustinians and rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755, the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Monte dominates the city of Lisbon. The popular neighborhood built around the historical hermitage holds on to the steep hillside. Accessible via narrow stairs only, many houses have been abandoned over the years. For this project, a building in the rubble is reconstructed to create the three-story single-family house. 

Ph. Leopold Banchini Architects

The regular rhythm of the historical openings in the white façade of the building is preserved, however, the interiors are carved to create larger volumes and a play with light and views. Double height spaces allow for breathing and communication between the floors, generating a flowing and undivided space.

The economic house is built with simple and raw materials. The mineral concrete structure is left exposed. Local pink and white marble from the nearby quarry of Estremoz is the unique material used for the interiors. Large slabs of solid stone create walls, floors, and shelves, are used, reducing the details to the bare minimum. 

Light fabric curtains are used for visual divisions and intimacy. On each floor, a central core holds the elementary needs: beds, showers, kitchen, and equipment. A large and fluid living space surrounds the cores, avoiding divisions and allowing for the modulating uses. Large wood sliding doors temporarily separate the volumes and create enclosed bedrooms when needed. The fireplace fitted in the curved marble of the ground floor heats the stone core on each floor. On the lower level, a contained and shaded patio offers a colorful exterior room open to the Lisbon sky. The walls of the patio are tiled with locally produced, traditional azulejos.

A single spiral staircase connects the levels and reaches the roof terrace. Surrounded by the blue waters of the pool, the white marble plane offers a panoramic view of the seemingly endless cityscape. Three umbrella pines, recalling the ones planted by monks in front of the chapel of Nossa Senhora do Monte, provide shade during the hot hours of the day.

DATE: 2019 / LOCATION: Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte, Graça, Lisboa / AREA: 200 m2  / PROGRAM: Single-Family House / STATUS: built / DESIGN: Leopold Banchini Architects + Daniel Zamarbide / PHOTOS: Leopold Banchini Architects

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