The Block in Avenal is, at the end, an answer to an abstract question. In other words, at the early beginning we were given a vague statement by the clients: “we feel we need to make a small maybe on the outside, maybe a landscape intervention”, they said. This time the architecture project begun one step behind. Actually, we first had to find out the equation for the project before we could solve it.
We finally realised that what the client needed was a better spatial dialogue between the pre-existing house and the garden on the upper level. In fact, the pre-existing house was condensed on the lower level with a small courtyard as the only connection with the backyard and garden. The upper level would become the new place to be, specially on sunny days.
Two white walls cut the terrain and new smooth stair makes the desired connection. The V-shaped cut in the terrain opens a new horizon for the small pre-existing house. Moreover, the white colour of the wall brings in a new light to that place.
On the upper level, a white block is designed on the axis of the stairs, working both as a visual limit for those coming up the stair and as “rotation” point towards the garden.
The window opened on the mass also works as a vanishing point for those coming up the stairs.
The new block is meant to be a new “shelter”. A strong “sense of place” is developed here, enhanced by the texture of chosen material. It is also under the idea of “place” that the place for the water and the place for the fire are designed. This “sense of place” is also explored by the strong opposition between the pure snow white walls and the rude concrete slabs. Furthermore, the cantilevered roof concrete slab is compressing the space below.
Finally, the growing bushes will one day complete the whole scenario, adding another texture to de project and defining a confortable limit for the intervention.
Architecture: depA Architecs
MEP: Vasco Madeira
Photography: depA Architects