Fish House

Type: Renovation of a single-family house
Location: Aveiro, Portugal
Status: ongoing
Project Author: Maria Fradinho
Team: Jéssica Barreto, Ana Soares, Ana Rita Gomes
Project Date: 2018-2022
Construction Date: about to start
Plot Area: 97 m2

Implantation Area: 73 m2
Construction Area: 130 m2

Original Project Author: Unknown
3D Artist: Tiago Vieira da Silva

The Fish House causes awareness about the city and its overlapping of meanings, where traces of different realities merge together as an urban palimpsest. The old town of Aveiro is characterized by an intricate urban planning of narrow streets but also colourful tiles at the forefront of the buildings. The Fish House is located in this context. It is established in the picturesque Beira-Mar neighborhood and nearby its surroundings we can find some important societal and cultural landmarks such as S. Gonçalinho Chapel and the old local fish marketplace, called Praça do Peixe.

Despite the archaic context, the proposal aims at introducing new techniques adapted to a contemporary way of living while preserving the original character of the place. Due to its proximity and visual alignment to S. Gonçalinho Chapel, it is essential to understand it as part of an important urban context. That’s the ongoing process of transformation of the city, allowing the continuity of its form and function. The house is developed as a homogeneous and longitudinal volume, defined by the limitation of the plot, like a townhouse. It is planned a reflecting pool that occupies the whole backyard.

The design intention is to maintain the three floor plans but significant changes are made. It is demolished the majority of the interior walls on the ground floor, creating an open space room for the common areas, featuring a double-height dining area and a triple-height ceiling in the interior water feature (aquarium), aligned to the skylight on the last floor. On the first and second floor it is organized the private areas.

The intervention in the front façade is subtle due to the understanding and integration of its urban surroundings. It is removed the meaningless tiles and applied plaster painted white.
In contrast, the major intervention is made in the rear façade. It is designed a light element over the large glazing façade covering it entirely. It is made from an aluminum structure and formed by scale-shaped elements, which resemble a fish’ scales – a theme associated to the client’s profession.

It works as a second skin, permeable, and allows you to hide and glimpse at the same time, or simply open up to allow the house to have a direct relationship with its reflecting pool. The final result establishes a contemporary and impactful image.
The scale-shaped elements are joined together as a whole. The ones aligned to the windows are opened to allow visual permeability; and the ones aligned to the floor slabs are opaque to define the scale of the building, revealing its interior height and the relation to the neighboring buildings. They are made from aluminum painted white, 20cm x 20cm format, similar to the standard tile’s size applied throughout the façades of the city center. The color is chosen to emphasize the detail of the formal composition.
The roof remains unchanged, made from traditional ceramic tiles, except the skylight applied in the same alignment of the water feature located on the ground floor.