Frari | Arch House

Arch House

Type: Construction

Client: Private

Size: Plot 940 m2 | Building 400 m2

Location: Ílhavo – PORTUGAL

Status: Construction work

Year of Project: 2014 – 2016

Year of Construction: 2016 – 2018

Team: Maria Fradinho (Project Leader), Norally Faustino and Rafael Morais


This project of a single-family house, with 2 bedrooms, will be deployed at a plot of 925 sqm, in ílhavo.

The land, located on a large block with deep plots, has a trapezoidal shape and significantly reduces its size from the street limit, until the end of the green backyard, being almost flat in all the length.

The proposed intervention is related with its location, mostly residential, but due to the presence of one of the most important industries in the region, the Factory of Vista Alegre, the villa is inspired by the industrial architecture and is materialized in an uniform body, where materials are metallic and where the inside is independent of its outer casing.

The terraced house follows the continuity of existing buildings on the street, with the front facade ensuring alignments with the consolidated space.

The proposed volume, consisting of four floors, one underground, for an atelier, and three floors up, totally for housing, let “disappear” the gabled roof of its urban facade, providing the existence of a stylized element, that allows the permeability of light and views, in a symbolic game of association to the unavoidable presence of the arch that marks the entrance to the place of Vista Alegre.

Thus, this element appears symbolizing the “crowning” of this facade, proposed in the form of triangular arch, parallel to the rooftop. The theatricality of this facade gives its name to the project, but it is not defined only by it.

The home recedes in relation to the described urban facade, creating a semi-private space of inner protection while ensuring a front patio, with the total buildings height, which guarantees for the basement floor, the dignity and health needed to the desired use.

This patio will also allow a larger number of windows in the main facade, suitably guarded and protected.

The main door opens into a porch, made of perforated metal floor, which distributes for both the basement as the ground floor of the house. This space within the courtyard and between the two front facades, creates a moment of rupture of the outside environment, preparing us for the new reality of the interior. It is a real “bridge” that links two seemingly contiguous realities, but nevertheless truly different.

Inspired by industrial ship containers, the game of rectangular volumes at the inside creates total ceiling heights in some areas, recreating the great industrial environment of one nave.

This set of different heights of the ceilings, extends the spaces and makes them more comprehensive, providing a visual relationship between various times of the interior.

This way it is ensured the feel of a single space occupied by smaller elements, which are distributed in the building in a “sliding” movement along its length, creating a rhythmic that breaks the monotony of the outer body of the building.

In a shameless way, the rear facade is fully glazed in order to relate with the green backyard, ensuring the direct relation with the outside.

Therefore, this project is created from four assumptions: the theatricality of the urban facade, the complexity of the use program, the limitations of the plot, and the inspiration on the industrial architecture that, together, makes this house a complex and unique piece of architecture!