The two apartment blocks were designed on the outcome of a shortlist competition promoted by Coociclo, an independent non-profit housing cooperative that was established after the revolution of 1974 with the purpose of providing housing for the middle-classes, thereby short-cutting the marketing cost of developers and improving the overall quality of the market.
The received volume of the ensemble is the consequence of a strict compliance with the techno-functional and bureaucratic stipulations of the city master plan. Notwithstanding, in the competition scheme, PROMONTORIO proposed all the apartments as duplex (double- floor); the idea being a kind of critical reconstruct of the Corbusian immeuble- villa, where verandas could function as double-height suspended gardens.
In a new and harshly urban suburb, immersed between highways and an inventory of postmodern pastiche, this building was conceived to effectively function as a social condenser: A building where the balcony, –the outcast space of the post-Athens chart suburbia–, could reinstate its condition of inhabitability, as opposed to a mere compositional adornment. By their sheer size, the balconies would realistically function as suspended patios, wherein, shielded by a system of louvers, people could gather to have lunch and children could play in much the same way as they would in the backyard of a suburban home. In that regard, the concept draws from the expectations prefigured in the nostalgic paradigm of the urban single- family house, made irreconcilable by metropolitan concentration.
Later in development of the scheme, PROMONTORIO was asked to introduce single-floor apartments, in addition to the duplex typology. The façades initially conceived as open courts exclusively for duplex dwellings, had to accommodate yet another rationale based in singular window units scattered on the elevations. The apparent randomness, albeit perplexing, is true to the functional needs of the by now highly complex typological combinations. The hierarchy of the diverse compositional elements is restrained by the string course representation of the floor slabs, while the simplicity of materials –light gray fibber cement cladding, exposed concrete and aluminium– is contrasting against the colourfulness of the surroundings.
Rua Fernando Namora (Telheiras district), Lisbon
Coociclo, Cooperativa de Habitacao, CRL
48 units in 13 floors, 8 typologies per block in single and duplex apartments
Total Building Costs
EUR 650 per sq.m
Gross Built Area
1993 (competition, 1st-prize) – 1997 (built)