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Duque

The property, built in the 1940s and showcasing some art deco features, was an old warehouse with a two-storey house on top, in a tree-lined street in the historic centre of Porto, Portugal. It was in a derelict state. The aim, is to transform it into a family home for a growing young family with a heavy social schedule. The concept, a deep retrofit and extension which included the introduction of a garden at ground floor level, can be divided into three parts: A home that is adjustable to the changing needs of a growing family, that is a pleasure to live in, and that embraces the outdoors as an intrinsic part of the building. A sequence of spaces that are functional and free-flowing. Connected vertically by a twirling staircase that, at the heart of the building, takes one from the brightly-lit social areas on the lower floors to the quiet intimate spaces of the upper floors. A fabric-first approach, that carefully and respectfully upgrades the existing building introducing needed new elements and removing those that are no longer fit for purpose. Always with the Passive House principles as guides, including very low energy usage and high airtightness targets. A design that embraces the existing, that looks at each timber beam, each floorboard, and questions what new life they can be given within the new home. The existing timber floors become cladding for new walls. The existing stairs are disassembled and put back together in a new configuration. The tiles and bricks, and the old sanitary ware are crushed and transformed into terrazzo tiles that will clad the family bathroom. The existing timber beams are kept and reinforced with new ones. The existing concrete slabs are reinforced and kept in place. The old roof tiles create the new garden deck.