In the quaint setting of Ancede, lies an architectural narrative crafted by atelier local, that speaks to the heart of design’s versatility, the harmony of environment, and the embrace of change.
House in Ancede is more than just a project; it's a testament to the ever-evolving nature of architectural conception.
The story began with a stone ruin, a canvas of potential spread over 300m^2 of land. However, as wildfires scorched the earth, transforming the landscape into an ecological preserve, the narrative took an unexpected turn. Suddenly, the vast land's potential diminished to a mere 60m^2, a challenge that demanded a recalibration of vision and scope.
Adopting a mindset grounded in ecological preservation, Atelier Local embarked on a journey to breathe new life into the remnants of the past. Their strategy was ingenious: deconstruct the ruin and repurpose it, nudging two walls to acquire the necessary footprint. The proposed design was eco-conscious with wooden roofs, cork panel insulation, and bespoke wooden frames.
However, as the hands of time continued their relentless march, externalities intervened. From the harshness of a global pandemic to economic disruptions such as the blockade of the Suez Canal and mounting global tensions, each phase brought with it a new set of challenges. Compounded by a workforce shortage in Portugal, the architects were compelled to pivot.
The end product might not have been the original vision, but it was an embodiment of adaptive design. The infrastructure transformed into a minimalist marvel, built from raw, exposed materials like concrete pillars, blocks, and water-resistant MDF, all highlighted by just a dash of paint or varnish. There's an uncanny beauty in how the design leaned into the raw, "as is" ethos reminiscent of visionaries like Alison & Peter Smithson or Kazunari Sakamoto. Meanwhile, the house's original stones found purpose again, supporting the structure as retaining walls.
The true marvel of House in Ancede is its reflection of adaptive design. While the drawings may not encapsulate the original vision, they underscore the project's evolution and the magic of collaboration. It stands as a testament to the maxim, “less is enough,” highlighting the power of minimalism. In an age grappling with overwhelming socio-political concerns, this project serves as a gentle reminder that contemporary architecture, even when facing constraints, can still leave an indelible mark on the landscape and our collective psyche.