Casa das Gárgulas || Valdemar Coutinho Arquitectos || Architect of the Year Awards 2020

Valdemar Coutinho Arquitectos: Winner of Architect of the Year Awards 2020. The intervention building “Casa das Gárgulas” is located in Viana do Castelo on Rua da Bandeira, considered for many centuries the largest street in the city and one of the oldest.

In the past, the building’s function was commerce on the ground floor and habitation on the 1st floor. Currently, it was in a very advanced state of degradation, practically in ruins.

The rehabilitation program consisted of transforming a vacant building into several quality houses. Given the requirements of the promoter and in view of the increased demand in the urban rental market in the city, the proposal was designed to create 6 dwellings between types T0 and T1.

In a simple and contemporary language, the dwellings were dimensioned with comfortable and cozy environments. Natural lighting was privileged for the new spaces. In some compartments, the walls were interrupted before the ceiling, thus favoring the expansion of light on the apartment’s surface.

Its entire interior, predominantly white, is contrasted by the varnished wood finish on the floor.

Recovering the original construction techniques, structurally, wood was used to materialize and enhance the floors and roof.

In terms of elevations, the main façade was preserved, one of the few walls and walls practically unchanged, with emphasis on the stonework and the three existing gargoyles.

On the ground floor the entrance of vehicles already existed, having been reinterpreted through meshed doors creating transparency and spaciousness.

The ruined façade was rebuilt as far as possible, in which rhythms of openings similar to the building’s pre-existing language were created.

Analyzing the peculiarities of pre-existence and in a search for a balance between the existing and the new, the result was a careful and sensitive insertion in its urban context, removing the inappropriate to introduce the essence of the original.

In chromatic terms, the bluish color combined with the brown color gave a new identity and contemporaneity.

Firm || Valdemar Coutinho Arquitectos
Project Name || Casa das Gárgulas
Architect || Valdemar Coutinho
Architect of the Year Award Category || Renovation

Project Location || Viana do Castelo
Team || Valdemar Coutinho
Country || Portugal
Photography ©Credit || ©João Morgado

Valdemar Coutinho Arquitectos is an architecture, urbanism, design and civil engineering studio, based in Viana do Castelo, Portugal, founded by Valdemar Coutinho, in 2001. An architect licensed by the Escola Superior Artística do Porto and effective member of the Portuguese Architects Association. It has a multidisciplinary team, with which they develop various types of projects from private or public entities, always paying special attention to cost savings and sustainability in all of them.