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Reconfiguration of a Residential Building

Correia Ragazzi Arquitectos

Reconfiguration of a Residential Building
By Francesco Pagliari -

Two dwelling units have been converted into a single duplex apartment in this linear, multi-storey block built during the second half of the 20th century in Braga, Portugal. The new apartment is designed along traditional lines. The living area, studio, entrance, kitchen and dining room are on the lower level, arranged on a sequential plan running from one side of the building to the other, while the upper floor is occupied by more private quarters.
The upper storey programme comprises two independent units facing opposite sides of the house: the en suite master bedroom and multipurpose environment serving as studio and small gym stand separate from the second unit containing two en suite children’s bedrooms divided from each other by back-to-back bathrooms. Spatial fluidity is the underlying design concept. Although clearly marked out, environments and functions follow one into the other, making for highly liveable spaces throughout. This free-flow plan required the removal of walls, partitions and part of the floor slab. Yet even if a certain amount of useful surface area had to be sacrificed, this went to the benefit of the architectural design and has resulted in an altogether more liveable environment.
The focal point of the new apartment is the vertical connection between the two levels in the form of a staircase, the new apartment’s main architectural feature. Rising in the double height space created by the partial demolition of the floor slab, this striking wooden staircase is visible from the entrance. Elegant, refined and resting on just one weight-bearing support, it rises from the lower level connecting kitchen and living area, its sinuous curves emphasised by a solid enveloping banister with a smoothed glossy-finish sides. On the upper level, the landing leading off to the distribution corridor is a balcony overlooking the empty space on the floor below. The staircase connects the two levels both physically and...

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