Project name: Casa Fernão Magalhães
Location: Porto, Portugal
Photo credits: Miguel Coelho
Design collaborators: Catia Cunha, Rita Gomes
Construction company: José Sousa, Empatobra Lda,
Carpentery works (staircase): Mr. Oscar Mota
Pvc doors and windows: Isohabitat Lda
This is a student house located in the center of Porto city. The experience of construction workers permitted the development of good level details of construction, even using the simplest materials. Especially the carpenter Mr. Oscar Mota had an substantial role in the resolution of the staircase details.
The interior staircase details have been developed following the traditional wooden staircase models of this region, observing as an inspiration the staircase of the Museu Mohinho de papel project in Leiria, designed by Álvaro Siza.
The handrail creates a filter from the skylight to the common space of the house. The details of the handrail have been designed with the purpose of saving space for the corridor, finding inspiration on the Cesare Cattaneo solution for the Cattaneo house in Cernobbio.
The timber used for the stairs, for the floors structure and for the pavements is pine wood. The choice is due to the fact that this is currently the cheapest wood in the market of Porto region, except for the eucalyptus wood. The eucalyptus wood is very resinous and subject to high thermal deformation, therefore considered not efficient for the construction use.
The superior surface of the handrail is made by a 1,5 centimeters layer of mahogany wood, more dense and resistant then pine and therefore suitable to the function.
The kitchen countertop and the ground floor pavement are made in cement. The rest of the house pavements are wooden made, except the bathrooms, whose pavements are made by ceramic tiles. There are also some square meters of the original hydraulic mosaic pavement.
Every valuable element of original construction has been restored and maintained, like the hydraulic mosaic of the pavement and the exterior staircase iron handrail.
Porto city traditional houses are made by continuous stone structural walls, rare case in Europe. That is why, in this Erasmus student’s house some parts of the stone original structure of the house have been left visible.
The illumination is made by indirect lamps in order to improve the visual comfort in the house.
The Porto city center has passed through a developing 2015. The construction sector has overcame the European crisis thanks the to the rediscovery by the investors of an hidden heritage. Curiously the square meter cost of properties was lower in the city center, due to the fact that approximately 30% of the buildings were abandoned in 2010. Due to this circumstances and to the low cost of construction, the conditions for investing in Porto are very attractive in the present years. The operation that took place in the house in Avenida Fernão de Magalhães met those interesting conditions to take place.